There are phases in my life where I feel restless, like something is afoot on the horizon just out of my sight. I call them seasonal phases because they seem to coincide with the changing of seasons. (Today is the last day of school for us, which I consider the official kick-start of summer.) Whatever it is, this feeling is something I can’t name and have a difficult time describing. Somber would be one way. The prevalent feeling of yearning for movement another. A keen awareness of where I’ve been, where I’m headed, and the passing of time yet another. In other words, the present is slipping through my fingers and I’m not even trying that hard to hold on.
I have never known depression on a personal level (well, there was that antepartum depression setback). I consciously make an effort to focus on the beauty of my life, the shots of pure happiness amidst the maddest of days. Life with three small children (yes, I consider 6 still small) is hectic and busy and I spend a lot of my energy trying to embrace this chapter of my life. It can be complicated and frustrating and never easy, but it can also be beautiful and humbling and energizing. But when I’m not caught in the whirlwind of the physical act of mothering, I find that I’m rather lonely. In the absence of the buoy of motherhood, I’m just treading water.
Once upon a time, I was punch drunk on the magic of mothering. It was all I could see, all I wanted to see. Now, I wake under a haze and walk with my eyes pointed toward that horizon, willing whatever it is to come forth. This isn’t to say that I’m no longer under the spell of my children, but what I once saw through tunnel vision I’m now seeing as the whole picture. And I’m seeing myself as stagnant. Is this, after all, the curse of the stay-at-home mom? Do we need to work more on personal growth than career-driven ones? Or maybe it is the fact that I’m also trying to make a career from home, which means that I am either mothering or working with little room for anything else. (I suspect I’m not the only one who feels that their days are split in equal parts mothering and working.)
I try to bury myself in the good and magical moments of my days. I smell the tops of my kids’ heads and breathe in their kisses like oxygen, but it could be in the next moment that I need to come up for air, I need space. I convince myself that this is normal, healthy even, that I need to pause, to reset and readjust, but there is always that voice lurking somewhere, pleading, “They won’t be little forever. You have today, this moment — soak it up, relish it — who knows what tomorrow holds.”
It is a graceful balance I have to learn and maybe I never will. Maybe this is exactly where I’m supposed to be, stagnant or not, and it will be a while before whatever is on that horizon reaches me. Maybe I need to learn to be okay with that.