Esther fell asleep in my arms last week. She’s seven and I don’t think I’ve had that pleasure since before she started kindergarten. But she was sick and exhausted and what I thought was just needing a quick snuggle before settling down for bed turned into her body getting heavy on my lap, her cheek smooshed against my chest and my kisses firmly available for the top of her head.
We sat like that for three hours until I needed to get to bed myself, or perhaps to pee. Her big sister was away at a friend’s house for the night and her baby sister was already in bed. When do I have this kind of time for my middle.
So I piled up blankets on the floor with extra pillow – and of course towels and the tupperware puke bowl – and we slept side by side through that night and the next while the sick consumed her.
And I gave in and let it consume me too. Groceries were not purchased, the computer remained off, my phone was left in the kitchen, the crumbs piled up on the floor, and the laundry became a growling entity in the hall that I pushed back with my motherhood magic(dirty looks and cursing and undying ignoring) until my guilt flew away.
There were many things I wanted for Christmas this year – new Uggs, a photography workshop, a winter coat, some new silver earrings, good tea. But I received the gift that I was not looking for, and that is more contentment with the chaos and learning to sit still. Two polarizing ideas yet so very related when it comes to motherhood.
Because as lovely and quiet as my children are – our house is not a place of buttoned up shirts, spotless counters and hairless sinks. And the more I wage the war on keeping our lives clean and organized and acceptably presentable and controlling the chaos while never sitting still, the more I find myself angry because living is none of those things. And a home being used 24×7 is quite frightening on a Thursday morning at 9am.
So don’t come for coffee at that time.
And while I’m not going to ‘let things go’ and I will continue to organize and clean and grocery shop and cook, I’m going to let a little more happy chaos in my life. And welcome more evenings on the couch with a child in my lap.
And realize that the still and the chaos are the important things in my life right now and it’s managing the beautiful dance between them that will set my mind free.