Take Care

fruittart

Having the second baby has made me slow down. A lot. My new normal has squeezed me toward ultra-focused sessions of writing and drafting in the afternoon and a running list of priorities that I update daily.

My household chores have been broken down into a monthly and weekly rotation. I prep my dinners on one particular afternoon a week, and I plan-plan-plan so that the important things that I truly value aren’t left behind in the dust of chaos of raising two young children.

My baby is crawling now. And eating everything on the floor. And making a bee-line for the toilet bowl when the bathroom door is left open.

My four-year-old is learning to fold laundry (hallelujah!) because I’m hiding jelly beans in the clothes (thanks for the tip, Mom!). He’s gaining traction in his understanding of letters and their meaning. I see the world of books unfurling its first beautiful page to him.

I am striving to view my youngsters and their stream of constant interruptions as opportunities to meet them with love and grace—to allow myself and my expectations of myself to change. To not push myself too hard with my daily to-dos. To delight in each small academic achievements of my boy. To feel the cosmic greatness of an after dinner chase scene in which I run after my kiddos with a cloth and wire tunnel on my head.

My life is inching out of mayhem and into a semblance of order. I can actually predict my schedule with moderate accuracy. My evenings are not a consistent heap of vegetation on the couch after the monsters are tucked into their recharging stations. My mind is gently stretching its wings as it comes to trust this bit of restored freedom and rest. And I feel I’m finally back in a place where loving others (the act of loving, not the momentary feeling) is possible again.

I want to be part of the sisterhood that says, “You’re hurting. Let me bring you dinner.” Or “You’re lonely. Come on over to my house when your kids are up from their naps.” Or, “You need a break. I’ll do your dishes while you take a long shower and pretend you’re at the spa.” I hate feeling trapped in the weeks and months of living in a moment-to-moment rush where deep-breathing is something I can only manage on my yoga mat in the pre-dawn.

My time is not unlimited, nor is my schedule empty, but my heart is filling. The waters of my mind are clearing. My hands have slowed enough to set down my dish sponge and baby wipes and instead grasp a sister’s hand as I say, “Let’s do this together.”

We were made to take care of each other.

About Elise

Elise Stephens began her career in writing at age six, illustrating her own story books and concocting wild adventures. Stephens counts authors Neil Gaiman, C.S. Lewis, and Margaret Atwood among her literary mentors, and has studied under Orson Scott Card. She dreams often of finding new ways to weave timeless truths into her stories. Her novels include Moonlight and Oranges (2011), Forecast (2013), and Guardian of the Gold Breathers (2015), a finalist for the INDIEFAB Book of the Year. She lives in Seattle with her family. Follow her on Twitter @elisestephens and Author Elise Stephens on Facebook.

Comments

Take Care — 4 Comments

  1. Hi Elise!
    Beautifully written. You have put into words what I could only feel. I wish I’d read this when I was in your stage of life, I’d have passed it onto all my friends struggling with young families. I loved the bit about making time for the things you value. Blessings for continued strength and inspiration.
    Lots of love from us both,
    Sarah

  2. I am glad you are finding love and breathing room in your new life.

    I think the saying “it takes a village” is waaaay overused, but it’s true: we need others along life’s journey, whether we are giving or receiving support.

    Much love to you.

Leave a Reply