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We always put music on when we’re in the kitchen. And I’m standing at the stove singing along to a song, when I catch a flash of movement from my youngest child, who’s having breakfast at the table.
She’s still in her pajamas, because our mornings together are slow. Everyone else has left for work and school. She’s swinging her legs in time to the music, and I realize she has the only pair of feet in our family that can’t reach the floor.
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I've been thinking about time a lot lately. And often, resentment will ride in on those thoughts. I feel resentment about the weight I gave to time and how much of myself I gave away to counting it and wishing it would pick up its pace. Those were the early days of motherhood for me—when I wore time like a heavy coat that was two sizes too big.
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I knew it wasn’t the way I was supposed to feel. But first time motherhood was hard. Convincing myself I could make it to the next stage was hard. Enjoying my baby was hard.
When they put her into my arms for the first time, I felt like I had been thrown overboard, and I spent those early months flailing as though I had forgotten how to swim. I used all my energy to swim against the current, because I was convinced it would take me to the shore—where I would find solid ground to stand on.
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And now so much further into my mothering, with experience and loss behind me, I resent time for how light and careless it seems. Like a balloon that's been let go on a windy day, I'm always on my toes reaching for it and trying to bring it back to me. To hold onto it more tightly. To hold onto the people who I want to share it with more tightly.
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I’m so glad those feet can’t reach the floor. As I stand and watch them swing, I can hardly remember the version of myself that was convinced what was coming would be better than what was already there.
I’m not needed in the same ways these days. I’m still caring for my children, of course, but I spend a lot more time as a spectator than as a participant in their day-to-day lives. I am finally standing on that shore. And they are swimming towards their own horizons without me.
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These are passages from an essay I submitted to an anthology of stories by mothers for mothers, recently published by my talented colleagues Shannon Day-Cheung and Tara Wilson at Tipsy Squirrel Press. My story appears along with many other heartwarming and hilarious essays about motherhood, written by a collection of mothers asked to reflect on moments from their own journeys.
I was honoured to be asked and glad to be able to lend my voice, because I know the value of being part of a greater story. We are all writing our own chapters, after all. We can celebrate our differences and our sameness and read one another's chapters and take from them what we need.
And I'm giving a copy away to one of my lucky readers (Canadian, US, or UK only please).
Enter below before July 31, 2015 to win!