I dream of waking up early, whilst the house is still and quiet, for an uninterrupted chunk of time to myself, of peace. Time to breathe, to read my Bible, align my priorities right. I dream of time to write all the words which swirl and cluster together in my brain, which have been confined to hastily typed notes on my phone, themselves longing for the day that they will be explored and fleshed out and danced in lines across pages. I hope, plan, even, to have productive and restful evenings, heading to bed to journal and read, prepare my mind mentally for rest, broken though it often is.
As you’ve probably gathered if this isn’t your first time here, I’ve been writing less frequently than I would perhaps like to, because these days it’s hard to coincide the time and mental energy which are needed to create coherent sentences. I would love to share more about life with three little ones, to have lots of time to craft beautiful reflective sentences and to create all the things which are rattling around in my head and filling my notebooks. Whilst I have a long list of posts I would love to be able to type out, at the moment I am embracing going with the flow of energy, time and resources and just spending ‘free’ time doing what is inspiring and manageable in that moment. One night recently after a particularly exhausting teething episode I shelved all my creative plans in favour of a shower and an early night after finishing the last few pages of Anne of Green Gables, and that was just what I needed, although I still want to do all those things someday.
Right now it’s our last school term of preschool, my last few months with three little ones at home before Phoebe begins school in September and a whole new chapter begins. If there’s one thing I have learned to recognise in the last four and a bit years of parenting, it’s that parenting has seasons, short ones. Whilst in the everyday moments of what your life consists of, it seems like there is no end, before you know it’s changed, you’re in a new season and they’ve grown and you need to readjust again. I’m embracing this last bit of time before school – it’s bittersweet for obvious reasons and I know that longing for the next season or looking back to one gone will only harbour discontent. Life right now is rich and full and hard work a lot of the time but there are so many joys.
I’ve made myself a little journal to record thoughts about this season in, bucket lists and planning and big picture things like aims for our home, my personal reflections on what my hopes are for them growing up and things like that. It has already been really helpful on those days when it’s easy to get bogged down in the daily demands, to step back and look at the bigger picture and refocus and refresh.
Hastily snatched minutes here and there are all my writing and reading afford right now- memories of long baths with a bump, reading a childhood favourite seem decadent and impossible. There are so many tasks of so many kinds calling my name, and the beckoning of my pillow is often even stronger. Yet those snatched minutes- like when you plug your smartphone in for only ten minutes at a time before you have to head out again- are better than none. They recharge my batteries slightly, exercise the creaky muscles again. I have been unable to execute flowing prose about what I am learning through my Bible reading- but I have made some bullet point lists. I’ve grabbed five minutes to create a basic creative interpretation of it in my journalling Bible. I haven’t had half an hour before bed to write about the day, or process life, in all its complexities and joys. Instead I have all these snippets of text which belong to a bigger, greater whole, trapped on my phone. I think of fleeting essay ideas, potential submissions to writerly places- but all I can do is jot down something which might jog my memory about it in the future. Perhaps I will flesh them out and execute the flowing stories of our life which I imagine- perhaps I won’t. Probably when I have the chance to do so, the desire to write won’t be so strong any more. Just like with all those off-limit foods in pregnancy, which suddenly seem extremely tempting. Perhaps writing will never serve much greater purpose than the art of recognising and retracing our everyday, but even that I believe is valuable and needed.
I would love to sink deep into a book, devour it in a day or two, enchanted by the characters, the plot, immersed in the world, but that was a luxury afforded to the younger me, who would read late into the night. A page here, a paragraph there,when I remember to put down my phone and pick up the book whilst feeding Amelia, is comforting and familiar. I’m choosing to revisit some old favourites on my way to some newer books I’m looking forward to, but haven’t managed to open yet. I know that dipping in and out of stories, of others’ creations is exercising that same creative part of me, inspiring me and filling up the creative tank. Rather than looking to those long stretches of time when I can read, I’m learning to build small daily routines into my everyday- going to bed five minutes earlier to read a little, everyday. Dipping in and out of stories has never been my strong suit once I’m engaged in a tale, but it is that or wait days, weeks, months until time and everyday life looks different, and miss out on the enjoyment of it now.
It’s not perfect, but I know I will look back and be grateful that I harnessed odd words, absorbed others’ more coherent writings, and struggled with my own straggling sentences in this chaotic season, trying to process and describe and explain and document. Time for things like writing here, painting, creating and such are really quite restricted right now but I’d not really have it any other way. There will be years to come when our house is quieter and my time spent differently and I hope to look back on this and know that I invested in this stage of life and embraced each season as it came. Perhaps I can’t grow the initial ideas into the bigger plant, but words were there, they grew and I picked the flower off. I know that it’s worth doing this, scrambling to get them tapped into my phone mid-feed, in the middle of the night, whilst cooking, and I know I will prefer a few lines penned here and there to nothing. After all, odd stems of flowers might look straggly alone, but when gathered together you can have yourself a beautiful bunch of colour.