It is the most rewarding, yet difficult job of all. This morning I had but a moment of warmth and joy. I have it each time I wake my youngest (my older boy is already up and reading when I come out of my room) and I see him asleep, one of two angels somehow entrusted to me in this life. I slide into his bed, appreciating the warmth and enjoying the sleep-smell of him. It’s heaven. Then he raises his hand to cradle my chin or grasp at any part of me in greeting, before he draws me into a hug and a kiss. This little ritual is a thing of joy and I wish motherhood were all about that.
But it isn’t. About a half hour later everything changed. As I told them about dinner with the family tonight in Alabang, the little one’s face clouded. “But I have violin lessons! I want to come home first.” But there was no time for that. He withdrew and was cold and we had breakfast in this atmosphere of emotional sludge, which then drove me to not only eat a croissant (I’ve been off bread for some time), but to dunk it violently and repeatedly into a demitasse of rich Valrhona chocolate.
I have been struggling with an increasingly hectic schedule for them. They have Kung Fu lessons after school, which they love, but twice a week was feeling a bit much, because there are violin and flute lessons for the younger one, and now there are violin and extra lessons for the older one, who is preparing for high school entrance exams. Take away Kung Fu then. No, they protested. Okay, two hours Monday and no more Wednesday. We thought that was a good compromise but they came home too exhausted and announced “Two hours on Monday is too much because we also had P.E. today and it was really tiring.” So they woke up tired and grumpy this morning.
So, now we’re calibrating again to find a balance somewhere, but something has to give. This morning was a give moment and I expect more of it until we find the right mix of rest, activity and recreation, a healthy breathing in and breathing out.
In the meantime, I am hurled back and churned out constantly by the emotions that accompany life changes and difficulties, and I have to remind myself that the croissant and chocolate help nothing, least of all my middle-aged thighs.