In a corner edge of our yard is this amazing, natural little fort – made from layers of caragana and years of leaves. Though it doesn’t look like it, this is all contained by a large stone wall that separates our yard from a busy street – so in past summers I have asked the kids not to play here for fear that they would tumble over the wall. But they are bigger now and that place is so inviting for a kid, and I can’t really stop them. I used to carve out places like that from the bushes when I was little, so I get it.
Every once in a while I get to work, for real. My husband has a more flexible job, so when it’s not the height of a busy summer for him, we can do a bit more sharing of childcare. And because I am, for better or worse, used to being a mom at home with my kids, going out of the house and working for the day feels completely indulgent. And amazing. What I do at the studio does not feel like work – I love it a lot and feel very lucky for that. But being a mom this summer definitely felt like work, because kids are full time, in the craziest kinds of ways, and I felt like I rarely got to leave, or take a break from my ‘mom job.’
I always get a little upset reading advice to moms about savoring the moments with little kids. Because when being a mom is all I feel like I’m doing, I cannot see those little moments – I am just dying for a break from the hugeness of the responsibility. But in these times that I get to work, get to surround myself with something else, with quiet, accomplishing my own creative tasks, well then I can come home and we are happy to see each other, willing to listen to news from school or really see his face in the bathtub. And I get to have those moments. Briefly. Finally.
So this morning, just after the bigger one was sent off on the school bus, and just before we got out of our pajamas, I went into this magical little tree fort with him. Just for a minute I sat down and watched, because I knew that soon we would each be having our own Tuesday mornings.
Balance, oh sweet balance, I’m always working on it.