The Drink of Silence

... as I gaze out over the suburban yardscape, teacup in hand, half-awake, choosing whether the newspaper or my journal will get my first half hour of waking attention.
Christina Baldwin, Life's Companion: Journal Writing as a Spiritual Quest
When I read a sentence like this I mentally throw in the towel and want to cry out of frustration. I envy the life that allows for early morning gazing and the freedom to choose my next activity rather than have it decided for me by whiny, hungry children and work schedules. I remember the days when I sat every morning with my journal in the silence of my rented room or amongst the morning bustle of a downtown coffee shop. Those days gone and I miss them so much I almost feel angry at my innocent children for stealing them from me.

That's a feeling I try not to give voice or credence to. A mother should never regret her choice to have children, and definitely not over a little morning writing time. But it's the principal of it; it's not just my journal that I'm no longer allowed time with - it's me. My life as I knew it has been sucked into a vortex of laundry for four, preparing meals, and toy-resettlement... I spin wildly, the pieces of my life battering me from every side. When I finally step out of it for even a moment, I'm too dizzy to even know who or where I am (let alone where my journal may be).


I began this blog entry a few months ago when school, daycare, and work schedules all conspired to make me go mad. It is hard for me now to even read those words. But I believe in writing down everything we feel even if it is painful to acknowledge - and the truth of one day may not be the truth of the next.

I couldn't think of what to write tonight so I dug up this draft thinking it was a good one based on my hectic day. But I'm realizing I can't write these things in true honesty - not today. Maybe tomorrow I will feel the chaos taking over again, but tonight I am calm. I am calm because I got to have a day with me and I actually had the opportunity to, "choos[e] whether the newspaper or my journal [got] my first half hour..."

It did not begin well, however. The kids, who for the last week have been waking up after 9AM (a miracle? No, just too many late nights), decided 5:30 was a good time to jump (literally) into bed with Hubby and me. Although we needed to be out of the house at 7:30AM for the first day of camp, 5:30 was a just little too much lead time. Summer morning sun was blazing through the slightly askew curtains for the first time in days and it apparently shone giggle-juice on my children. As heart-warming as kiddy giggles are, being forced awake by it an hour earlier than desired was more than this mommy could take. So when the cozy covers were ripped off for a game of duvet spelunking, I have to admit I lost it. Ahem.

Two hours later, all was forgiven (I hope) and Little Lady was putting on her name tag ready for a day at camp. I then left for home, minus a son as well as a daughter (thanks, Mum!) and settled at the picnic table with my laptop for a day of work.

I sent out press releases, emailed potential host bookstores, coffee shops and a senior center, I hung out two baskets of laundry, filled out an application form, called various insurance companies (which resulted in some good old fashioned cussin'), and of course, wasted some time on Facebook. A full day. A full productive day.

I needed today. I drank up the silence and absorbed the stillness. I was able to concentrate and focus. I wasn't a mother today, I was Me, and I loved it!

I do long for the days when I will be able to decide my own schedule while gazing out over the rim of my (hot) coffee cup. But for now I will take these rare moments - oases in the desert of motherhood - and try to stockpile the peace for the days when I get caught in the maelstrom of kitty haircuts, lost shoes, exploding diapers, black-marker-eye-shadowed daughters and flower-bed-thrashing sons.

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