I was staring out my window yesterday, as I was pacing up and down the lounge room with the pixie in my arms. I was looking out at a gumtree in the neighbouring yard, its trunk blackened as though charred. I’m not sure what sort of gums these are, but there are a few here amongst the polished lengths of ghosts and twisted skinny silver princesses.
At times like these my mind often swims and wallows and drowns in all the Things I Could Be Doing Right Now. Sometimes I become overwhelmed with all the Things I Could Be Doing Right Now and my heart is all aflutter, anxious for the big eyed babe in my arms to go to sleep. Generally this is not a good recipe for sleep, as my step becomes a bit jittery and sometimes I even get impatient and start moving things here and there with my free hand: a laundry basket, a deserted toy.
I have nearly finished reading Buddhism for Mothers. From cover to cover this time, like I promised myself. When Birdie was a baby I just read snippets here and there, and now that I’m near the end I truly cannot believe I didn’t devour it in one sitting while I was hanging about with just one little baby and not much else to do (I mean, really, I now understand that I was NOT as busy as I really believed I was… and yes, I realise all the parents with three or more children are laughing at me right now…)
One thing I am slowly learning, and constantly reminding myself with the help of this marvellous book is: it will pass, nothing is permanent. I won’t remember this specific moment, this step I am taking, this wriggle I am trying to calm in my small one. I won’t remember much of the frustration I feel, continually looking forward or backward in these times when I have nothing else to do except think. Pace and think, think and pace. I won’t remember what day it was that she didn’t sleep a wink, or what it was I missed out on doing. But if I keep on butting heads with all the Things I Could Be Doing Right Now I will remember all the time I wasted, all the minutes and hours gone, all the time I missed that I could have spent being present with my baby.
So yesterday, I paced. Up and down and up and down. I tried not to bother with the Things I Could Be Doing Right Now, I pushed those things away. Instead, I felt my baby heavy in my arms, I looked into her eyes, I ran a finger along her soft foot. I touched her hair. I looked out my window at the charred gum and pondered on the green and the blue out there. I reminded myself: this will pass.
And with that, nothing looked as bleak, and I was able to be there, right there, and spend that moment with my baby.