Tethered

It’s been months since I last wrote a post; an entire season has zipped by in a blur. I had hopes of veranda dreaming–getting lost in afternoons reading on the back deck or lying in the grass, long hikes and morning yoga. Somehow I thought I’d finally arrive at a place of control when, even now, that’s so far from where I’m at. My mother and my husband continually remind me this toddler-raising lifestyle is temporary, but it doesn’t feel temporary. It feels excruciatingly long, each day more about biding my time than enjoying the present. 

I’m tethered to obligations, endless responsibilities and chores, to work stress, to two children who depend on me, to the rest of my family, and all of the other things constantly calling my name, pushing down on my shoulders with such heaviness. I strain under the weight of it. Some days I contemplate driving in the opposite direction of home– foreign lands or a quiet cabin in the woods. But I know the fantasy is a lie because I would be missing the people who anchor me, support me, and give me a sense of belonging. Without them, I would never find true Home.

And so, the conundrum continues…How to reconcile my wish for a life that feels more my own with the reality that I have an 18-month-old and an 11-year-old who count on me? A husband who adores and needs me? How do I make more time for what brings me joy? How do I shake the guilt when I do carve out time for myself? I know I am a better mother and wife when I take the time for solitude and pleasure, but it always feels like an uphill battle to do so. 

The same questions, same desires arise again and again, still unanswered. Is it like this for everyone? Is anyone with children really feeling balanced and fully cared for as an individual person? How can we make peace with the weeks, the years, of slogging through and hoping we don’t collapse in a heap of sheets that need to be washed?

Today I am sitting at a coffee shop with my laptop. I made an intentional effort to write even though many other things are fighting for space in my mind. I am making an intentional effort to ignore the pangs of guilt that arise over work to-dos waiting on me and my husband watching our kiddo today while I’m flying solo. These intentional choices are seemingly small and insignificant, but they matter nonetheless. They will accumulate. I have to hope they will be frequent enough and meaningful enough to carry me through the much longer and more frequent stretches of humdrum living and obligations. It’s a form of flying my kite in this chilly fall wind, knowing I have fleeting moments of freedom while still connected to the family that grounds me. There can be joy in that, even if it’s battered by some unpredictable weather.

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