Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Narrowing of Life with an Infant

The world narrows when you have an infant. Even more so for us, when we are an hour away from most things, have only one car, one computer, no dishwasher, and are feeding via pumping and bottles. My instagram (which I finally have because when I turned in my work laptop we got me a refurbished smart phone off the Internet - yay!) is photo after photo of kiddos. That's because... that is my life. For a while now, in this newborn stage, I am almost always at home, almost always holding, feeding, pumping, changing, consoling. The photos aren't staged... it's my constant state of being.

It is beautiful in some ways.  That's what you see in the photos. You see the little button noses and bright wide eyes and the joy of play time and a small family together on a couch, enjoying each other. That's beautiful.

It's hard too. I'm task oriented. It's so hard for me to be okay with the extent to which I must sit and hold and feed and pump. Everything in me is thinking about the to-do list and how I want to get up and finish the dishes, take out the trash, write the thank yous I have to write, begin prepping dinner. But instead, I sit, because someone has to hold that bottle.

I write from Austin, where we are in a hotel prepping for a friend's wedding. We all had lunch at Chick-fil-A (whose play place we are thankful for these days!) a block from our hotel and then Isaac took off for the rehearsal while I let Judah continue to play. The plan was to walk back to the hotel when he was done, which we had to plan well to fit the schedule of pumping, and we had to bundle up Elly well against the freezing temperatures for the 10 minute walk. However, the explorer in me has been confined mostly to the home the past few weeks and the Target I could see from a distance beckoned, and I  made the bad decision to try to trek over to it with the kids.

Like I said, bad decision. I have to learn to tone done my task oriented, overly-ambitious, explorer side during these little kid days. I have to learn to be okay with sitting and being. As it was, we began trekking across grass and mud and on the side of busy roads in the wind and freezing cold, and in 15 minutes we were absolutely chilled and Elly was fussing and I realized that the road I thought was taking us to Target actually had no entry, and by the time we'd retraced our steps Judah was on my shoulders, the stroller was struggling to move in the mud, I was worried about Elly's body temperature, and I'd given up on Target. We made it back to the hotel wind blown and frozen.

I had to give up on going to a bridal shower/bachelorette thing as well. I knew it was a long-shot but it was possible, until I found out my phone was missing. An infant, pumping, a single car, an event across town, and no phone... it wasn't going to work. It emphasized in the moment those feelings of isolation in this stage - feeling alone and unable to communicate as life goes on for those I love. I'm so glad we're headed to be with my family for a week!

Two kids. I am a mother to two children. I turned 30 a year ago but didn't feel any different. I was still in the young professional sort of world. It's hit me now that I am currently a stay at home mother to two children and the primary things I'm dealing with are getting us moved overseas for our long-term careers and a surgery for a cleft palate. That is all very adult-like. When we get out of the house with a toddler and an infant in a car seat, Isaac and I look at each other in amazement and say, "How did we get here??"

I pass 20 year olds and say hi like equals and realize that they must see me with my kids and think I am a generation above them. Life is changing. As I wrestle with the occasional loneliness and the struggle to want to get things done in a way that's not possible right now, I've been reminded that in this stage, I have three concerns. I need to care for my two kids. I need to love my husband. I need to abide in my Savior, daily. When I get up in the morning, those are the three things to remember right now. Other things and a regular life pattern of interaction in the world will return with time.  It's my task these days to sit in it, to instagram the preciousness of these days of new life so that we remember it, because it will soon be gone.

1 comment:

AHLondon said...

It does go by fast, but it sure feels slow in the middle.

Some of that To Do list will need to be done, eventually, partially. Sitting, holding, soothing, that's just what you do for a while. (That Target treck will tempt you again, and again...sometimes it'll even work out.)

Congratulations. She's beautiful.