I've just come back in from sitting on the porch, drinking an out of the ordinary glass of wine and watching the day fade to the sound of crickets. It's a miraculous 68 degrees out and my mind is already full of autumnal things like pumpkins and hayrides and cardigans.
It's been a full day of extreme Sam-watching and a few quiet moments on the porch staring at the trees in the yard felt more necessary than usual. After 29 years of singleness and loads of nights moaning to someone (usually God) about being alone, now I am alone approximately 5-10 minutes a day, and that's just bathroom breaks. I have a feeling that God is shaking His head at me a little as I get what I want and then wish I still had a little of what I used to have.
I was in Georgia this past weekend visiting my family while Matt was on a prayer retreat for a few days. Driving 4 hours (a.k.a. 6 if you count stops for food and diaper changes) with just Sam is something I haven't done before until this weekend. I was a bit nervous and then somewhat empowered during the trips there and back. It reminded me of all those drives I had back and forth to Georgia from Nashville and later from Knoxville when I was single, running up the miles on my Jeep while listening to music and pondering life's mysteries and the complexities of relationships (i.e. silly boys).
Yesterday's drive found Sam napping not once but twice, which gave me time to reminisce to the background music of John Mayer, Greg Laswell, REM, Iron and Wine and other old and new radio friends. It was lovely and I reminisced like crazy about the last, oh, 10 years of my life. I haven't done that sort of thing in months (as in, 8.5) and it felt good to revisit old memories and dear friends and even a few regrets. I think I almost reclaimed a little of myself on the interstate yesterday, as John Mayer's voice filled my car and reminded me of my "old" life, sans diapers.
Don't get me wrong. I wouldn't trade this life that I have with my wonderful husband and adorable Sam for anything, but there are days when I crawl into bed and realize that I haven't thought even for a minute about what I want or feel or wish for. It's so completely the opposite of what used to occupy my mind just a few years ago. Now, I can't go 10 minutes without contemplating the cost of diapers and baby food or wondering why the contents of Sam's diaper today was such a weird color.
This life as a wife and mom is what I've always wanted, but the challenge of retaining some semblance of who I have been and imagining what I might still become is tougher than I even expected. And not because I'm fighting for time to be alone with my thoughts but because I don't even have the time to be aware of what I'm not thinking about.
After sharing a few of these realizations with my mom over the weekend, she reminded me of her grandmother, my great-grandmother, who had 8 sons and a husband who worked the nightshift. According to family stories, this woman didn't make it outside their yard for a full ten years as she reared those 8 boys of hers. Obviously, those were different times, but it does put things into perspective a bit.
Well, it's taken me close to 24 hours to actually write this blog post and now Sam's up from his last nap of the day, busily mashing Puffs (a magical food made of air and sweet potatoes) into the blanket he's sitting on. And I find that I'm already plotting another 20 minutes on the porch tonight with perhaps another glass of vino to accompany me.
I think there may be a balance somewhere between the constant "meeting of needs" all day and the quiet reflection that feels so elusive. I'm just not sure how to find that balance just yet. I welcome any and all suggestions.