Take the slow path, accept the fucks

August 29, 2016, as quickly as summer came, she leaves me now, my body feeling the change of seasons, waking up early again as if it is some biological, instinctual, transition that is out of my control. The babies are going through the same transition, waking up earlier, taking earlier naps. It’s strange and beautiful. Yesterday morning two blue jays landed on our deck. “Shhh, turn around, but be quiet” I tell Jack and Fiona, we’re sitting at the table having breakfast. “You might get to see the blue jay break open the acorn with his beak.” They turn and look, excited. One blue jay hops away and Jack says “My blue jay” Then Fiona says, “That’s my blue jay!” Then Jack says, “No, that’s my blue jay, that’s your blue jay!” pointing to the other blue jay. “Stop, you guys!” I yell. They keep it up, escalating into hitting and pushing, Fiona loses her balance and falls face first, luckily catching herself before hitting her face on the wall. “Stop it, NOW! Blue Jays belong to no one, they are free!” Oh my god, we’re in the “mine” stage. It’s incredible. And when the child development books say, “To a toddler, everything is about fairness” they aren’t exaggerating. I made a conscious decision last night before I went to bed to make sure this week everything is exactly the same when I give it to Jack and Fiona, down to the number of pretzels on the plate. It’s gotten that serious.

We lost another hearing aid. Saturday we went on a walk, I call it the “Target walk” because you can walk on a path along the bay to Target. There’s a beach and a great view of the Richmond bridge. There’s sea birds and rocks and humming birds and dragon flies. Billy was super excited and running on the beach, Fiona started to walk in her path, I tried to stop her but the whole thing got jumbled up and in the mess of dog running into baby, Fiona’s hearing aid got knocked off. I noticed it right away and found it. It was all sandy so Alan put it in his pocket, unfortunately the pocket had a hole in it. We noticed the hearing aid was gone when we got home. Alan went back and looked that same day, and yesterday we went back and retraced our steps, told walkers and runners what we were looking for and put up signs. In the process of looking for the hearing aid a little shift happened inside me, I was walking slow, scanning the ground, noticing things I normally don’t notice. Jack and Fiona wanted out of the stroller, they wanted to explore too.  I start walking faster and Jack starts crying and sits down. At first I want to put him back in the stroller, I’m frustrated by this, another annoying toddler behavior. I walk back, “What’s wrong Jack?” He gets up and says, “come here”, I follow and so does Fiona. We are at the little Duck pond, Jacks happy now. He wanted to explore this, he wanted me to explore this with him. There are a pair of ducks resting, beaks tucked in their feathers, there are ducks swimming on the other side of the pond. We look through the fence; I rub both babies backs. It’s a sweet and precious moment. I continue to follow their lead for the rest of the walk, until both babies start breaking down, whining, at one point I yelled at Fiona, “Shut up!” because she kept saying “I want my raisins” over and over again in this horrible high pitched whining! I thought people must think I’m an abusive parent. Sometimes I say “FUCK” when the babies are driving me crazy getting into everything, Alan says I shouldn’t say that word around the babies, I said “Yes I should”.

It’s a constant shift between smooth sailing and stormy seas being a parent. It’s so important to be able to shift back into the moment, change things up, or just ride it out until bedtime. I still don’t believe it’s true that it gets easier. Things change but there’s always difficult moments, times you think there’s no way I can get through this day. But you do and bits of magical moments shine through the fucks and shut ups! As long as I remember the most important moments come in small packages and to be grateful for the pit stops at the duck pond, or the bedtime routine when everything goes calm, stories are read and breathing slows then the light goes out. A kiss on each babies forehead, “I love you, goodnight”

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Thoughts on Motherhood Through the Eyes of an Artist