First thing that comes to mind is that there are many things I have not finished that I started a couple of years ago (or longer) that are very important to me: I still have to finish the paperwork for an NGO I'd love to open, missed going to Ethiopia this March-so much that I break down in an awful fit of tears that I can't live any part of the life I use to have. I've gained too much weight even though I'm active at home with the kids- I'm way less active than I was before they came and I'm home all the time so I eat more. I still remember what my life was like before they came to live with us - and miss it a lot and since I love what I do for work- I really miss it. I actually miss meetings-laugh- those things I dreaded, miss the city commute and the energy of hopping trains in the morning and the time for personal peace and quiet. I miss quiet walks with my dog, running with my running buddies at lunch time, going to the gym to lift, a clean and quite house to come home to, the independence of staying out late. I really miss-watching movies when I want to, having dinner regularly with friends, or having time to research the market or new technologies.
I thought I was ready to be a parent- in fact I counted the days for a few years before that blessed day- and now that it's happened sometimes I wonder why I was in such a hurry to give what we had up. One of the biggest things I miss - Having money- man kids are expensive!!!!
Now, to say these are big parts of myself that I miss would be an understatement. But it is not to say that I don't enjoy being a mom or having a bigger family. The kids make me laugh every day, and it is so much fun to watch them grow. Since the suns come out and their 6 full weeks of rotating colds seem to be over for a bit-I've had more time to be reflective-and here's what have taught me about myself.
- I have a huge desire to finish some of the things I started when I was younger and didn't finish- mostly because I want them to see that it's okay to stop something-but if it's important it's never to late to get back to it.
- Sometimes you have to give more of yourself than you may have wanted to or imagined you'd have to, to get what you want out of a project (say raising children for example). But you'll have many beautiful moments and much joy that had you not allowed yourself to stray from your path you'd have never experienced. I've been really good at making my own path in life-but it's always been a challenge for me to say on anyone else's for any length of time.
- I'm comfortable "outside my box"- in fact I prefer to live my life that way-love the adrenaline and excitement an unpredictable life presents. The children restrict this- but I still enjoy retreating to my "discomfort zone" now and then by doing something unpredictable. It's just now a days- I find my adventures closer to home rather than hopping into a plane. I do miss having the money for my pilot lessons, however.
- Patience- I'm becoming more patient as the year goes on, and less frustrated and angry. When they first arrived (for the first many months) I got angry, frustrated, tired and cried much more than I do now. There are a lot less shower cries...
- I've learned how to play again. Something I struggled with in my Teaching in Ethiopia.. It took me many months and I'm still not great at it- but I'm better at understanding what helps the kids learn and what is fun for them-not what I think is fun-and I've learned to enjoy it.
- I've learned more confidence too.. something I really needed both for my professional career to grow when I do return to work, but also for my family. I no longer judge how well I'm doing as a mom by what others are doing or what they are thinking-but I have learned that I am different than many mom's and similar to other moms, and it's taken me awhile to find people who are "similar" to my "style" as well as lot's of time to understand my parenting style and of course that like everything in our lives will forever be evolving and developing.
To hear "I did it, mom" and "mama, come", "up, mama" and that frighted cry that says "mama mama..in the night" that only you can console.. They swell my heart now- and they sound different than they did. They warm my heart instead of feeling like Ughhghghg.. and I respond more naturally now.
This list could go on and on- and if I has time away from the kids-perhaps it would be even well written and a more "meaningful" post but for now-with my 2 year old hanging off my arm biting me, pulling at me and kissing my arm while saying- mom, mom, maaaammmmeeee...this is what I've got to give and well.. although it's not perfect..It's good enjoy-laugh and smile.