It's six-thirty on Friday morning and quiet. Amelia is asleep in our bed after coming downstairs at five for more tylenol and cough drops. Mike has left for work already and I've had this unexpected pocket of time fall in my lap.
Yesterday, my professor asked the women in my class to talk about how we feel we're different from our grandmothers and mothers. He was looking for cultural, societal shifts, to demonstrate to us that the world is changing. That what we are capable of and our expectations of our lives are much different now than they were for earlier generations.
I told him I was raised by feminist parents, that I was brought up to believe I could do everything.
Good, he said, good. Next?
Wait, I said, that's not everything.
It's not real. It's a basic tennent of physics. We only have so much time, so much attentions, so much room in our lives. We can't have EVERYTHING. We have to choose.
Part of me loves being back in school. I love the discussions, the thoughtfulness, the new ideas. But as I'm hustling Aven out the door to preschool, grabbing mittens and backpacks and last-night's homework I am also utterly filled with longing. Longing to put it all down, and just pick her up (while I still can). To spend the afternoon walking along the Big Hole River while she collects rocks, or reading, or just listening to her talk, giving her my undivided attention.
Everyone told us we could have it all, the family, the career, the free time to pursue our passions and balance it all out. And I have moments where I really feel the balance. There are times when this all feels possible and true.
But there are other truths. Like I left a job I really loved to become a mother. Like I juggled the management of the community garden I established, my babies, and time to take care of my own body and brain for years. How nearly impossible it is to feel like you're giving the important things in your life the attention they deserve. How something is almost always falling through the cracks.
Or that I'm not sure where to go from here. My gut feeling is that something inside needs to shift. I need to give up something, even if it is just my own preconcieved expectations of what my life should look like. I want to get to a place where I give myself peace. Where I feel those fleeting moments of balance more regularly.
I'm thinking about it.
I'm working on it.
And the sky's getting light now
and I can hear the birds going wild
even with every window closed.