I had a tea date with a friend a few days ago. I had one hour between my teaching gig in Margot’s class and kid pick-up. I remember when my days weren’t so scheduled. I remember breezy college when we just hung out with friends all day, every day. Before text message marathons trying to pin down one little window to lock eyeballs with people I love.
She showed me her newly remodeled bedroom and I said how comfy her bed looked. And then we climbed in and cuddled. When was the last time I laid down at 2pm? We talked about husbands, kids, health and work. It was good. I felt my body unravel the way it can in the presence of a best friend or on the yoga mat.
Speaking of yoga, I used to practice many days a week. I took my first class in 1996 and it remained a big part of my rhythm for more than a decade. I keep thinking about how I miss it and how I’ll pick it back up. Ruby turns four next week and that’s a pretty solid reminder that I’ve have had four years of wishing I was back in the yoga groove. Four years! Well, six really. For whatever reason, yoga didn’t join me into parenthood. And I wish it had. Yesterday I bent over to collect kitchen flotsam and my legs felt cold and creeky. I went straight into triangle pose, holding and staring up at the hairy sock I had picked up. Ruby jumped under my arm and giggled. I kept going. Sun salutes, forward bends. My body needs this. I need to strengthen, lengthen, fold, hold and breathe.
I remember when I told a friend I felt overwhelmed with backing up my photos because I wanted to edit and organize as I did it and staring at years of poorly labeled folders felt like staring at Everest. Instead of putting one foot in front of the other, I felt paralyzed. She told me to just start today, with the photos from this month. Just begin and work back as you feel like it. Just start. Begin. Now.
That’s such great advice, isn’t it? I remind myself of it a lot, in this current life season of ours. Two wildly energetic kids, a needy homestead, growing careers, neglected hobbies,
Just then, both of my daughters climbed onto my lap. I was sitting in front of the fire. It is snowing outside and I had this urge to hammer out a few thoughts this morning. But they needed me. Just hugs. They perched on my body. A still, warm family totem.
Where was I? Oh yes, the fullness of our current season. Mamas talk a lot about juggling balls and dropping balls. I don’t particularly like that negative metaphor. Things aren’t dropped, they are intentionally placed on a shelf where they quietly, non-judegmentally wait. They either become obsolete and melt away, creating space for the things we want and need or – most of the time – they just hang out and wait for us to rediscover them when the time is right. We dust them off, get new batteries, paint a fresh coat. And begin.
So Yoga is on my shelf. It sits next to Dates With My Husband, Making Birthday Quilts For My Daughters and Reading Novels. Currently, I am engaged with sewing the hundreds of items people have entrusted me with creating for their loved ones. I am spending unstructured time with my kids where I regularly feel like crying from the joy they deliver. I am making time to be with and talk to friends, even in tiny windows of time. I am loving the cold weather that pushes me into the kitchen, into rearranging my home and into bed earlier. I am excited to rejoin my husband as a season pass holder to our ski hill for the first time since I’ve been a mama. I am snuggling with my dog a lot. I am volunteering regularly for organizations I love. I am feeling solidly in love with my partner who paints the most smart and delicate art, who is so supportive and THERE all the time. I am so proud of him, of us. I don’t think I imagined us at 35 when we were 15. I like us at 35. It’s messy and real and fun and rewarding.
Painting rarely goes on Andy’s shelf and I so admire his dedication. He usually paints from 4:30-6:30 in the mornings before work and has managed to produce a few bodies of work since we’ve had kids. Right now he has an exhibit up at the Turman Larison Contemporary in Helena, MT. We went over for the opening last weekend (he sold two paintings!) and stayed with our friend (who is an amazing, inspiring art star). The opening was pretty awesome: our kids weaving around the legs of hundreds of people who were gobsmacked by Andy’s art. We went to bed very late (thank you ma in law for taking the kids home!), talked lots about art with artists, ate wonderful food, hiked around Anne’s property in fresh snow, walked through 100 year-old cabins full of awesome old stuff, drank tons of coffee and laid on a giant bed in Anne’s art studio.
Exhibit deets: November 8 – December 8 at the Turman Larison. Andy’s gallery talk: Friday, November 22, 6:30pm. Click here to see Andy’s paintings.