I'm popping in for just a quick hello, while still in the middle of enjoying our quiet week between the holidays. My, do I love this week between! So far, we haven't been out of our jammas much, which is one of the best parts about it, I'm sure. This oh-so-necessary rest reminds me of an article I wrote a few years back about that very thing - rest - from the perspective of a mama with very young littles. I found the article this morning, and thought you might enjoy reading it during your week between, too. So, here's to pajamas, tea, good movies, good reads, games, and rest! I'll see you back here next Monday when I'll resume daily posts, beginning with a full story about those jammas you see up there, and all the other newsy news about our holiday.
Enjoy your week!
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Tired. So, so tired. Exhausted, in fact. Cloudy vision. Muddy thinking. Floundering in the thick waters of motherhood, groping for sanity. Sanity. I knew I had a bare thread of it somewhere. But where? Likely, it was balled up and stuck in a blank space of my mind. My body was sluggish with fatigue each day as I clamored to keep up with my clattering, chattering, two-year-old. Precious sleep was shattered each night by my crying, crying, incessantly crying infant; for months, crying. When was it going to end? Would it end? Survival.
My children - precious little needers, the masters of task. I had given all that I had, and then they asked that I give even more. But, there was no more. I was a martyr to motherhood.
Quiet. Sleep. Solitude. Rest, in the sparest of spare rooms. I desperately needed it all, and I knew of someone who had such a place; I called Carey. She answered my anxious ring. Would she mind if a very tired mother came and retreated to her guest room for one afternoon? Life flooded through the phone with her gracious reply, "I wouldn't mind at all, honey. Come anytime."
With great expectation, the day of my retreat finally arrived. The dawn broke and awakened the snow-covered mountains with colors of pure joy - coral, pink and yellow. It was a beautiful day. I nursed my littlest until he was all fed up, then I kissed my precious fellas and their Daddy good-bye, wishing them all the best in each other's company. Soon enough, I would be making tracks back to them, there's nothing like a full supply of milk to bring a mama home to her baby.
My heart felt light and fluttery as I pulled away from our driveway. Every second of the next four hours was for me to cherish, just for me. I drove past millions of diamonds on my way through town as the sun shone on the glittering snow. A trendy little cafe pulled me aside. I ordered my lunch to go: two slices of crusty, whole-grain bread spread with aioli and loaded with smoked turkey, cheddar, tomato, sliced avocado, topped with a thatch of crisp sprouts. Heaven in a sandwich. Then, to drink, a bottle of natural green tea, iced and sweetened with honey - I went ahead and got two. For dessert, I selected a slice of cheesecake, smothered with strawberries macerated in sugar. Perfect.
My fingers tapped as I drove up the curved mountain road. I hummed. I was destined for rest! As I pulled my car into the freshly plowed driveway at the house of my rest, I felt welcomed, for even the steps leading up to the front door had been cleared of their blanket of snow in anticipation of me. Someone had prepared for my coming.
Feeling the brush of excitement already, I gathered up the essentials for my afternoon from where they were sitting on the passenger's seat: my journal, a novel, the latest issues of my favorite magazines, and my fancy little lunch. The snow squeaked under my boots as I made my way toward the front door. Carey had said to just let myself in, the front door would be unlocked. So, just like Goldilocks, I opened the door and went in.
Peace met me at the door; silence invited me in. Quiet. So very quiet.
Carey's little Scotty dog trotted over to greet me, then he sat back, crooked on his haunches, and watched me quizzically with his head cocked to the side as I took off my coat and boots.
The home was beautiful. Pools of sunlight spilled over the windowsills and into the rooms in front of me - the dining room with it's long, elegant table and beautiful sideboard, the living room with its fireplace and cushy, plum-colored sofas, and the piano room with its polished baby grand and ball-fringed curtains. It was the kind of house that hadn't just been madly cleaned and tidied; it simply always was.
A graceful, curving staircase drew me up to the second floor. Carey had said I would find rest in the first room on the left. The door was quiet on its hinges as I swung it open to reveal the colors of softness and sunshine inside. Across from me, the bed was spread with a beautiful vintage quilt in floral patterns of blush pink, butter yellow, and celery green. A gathering of antique baby dolls, all clothed in their prettiest dresses, rested against an array of pillows at the head of the bed; another quilt lay folded at the foot. The doily-covered nightstand held a milk-glass lamp and a collection of vintage children's books, their illustrations still vivid and crisp.
I placed my things on the chair in the corner, then walked over and fell into the bed's softness, finding a place among the pillows and dolls. I drew the quilt over my tired body, soothed by the creativity and patience of the woman whose hand had placed every stitch in it so many years before. The soft ticking of the clock lulled me.
Beyond all awareness of babies and children and household, this was the sleep that draws you into that deep place of rest; the kind of rest that has endless bounds, yest holds you close ad cradles you. Time hung in the folds of that quiet place.
When I was nudged awake by the shadows of the turning sun, even my spirit felt refreshed. Then, in no hurry for anything, I perused my magazines, wrote in my journal, read from my novel, and savored each bite of my lunch. I sipped my tea. With every page turned, every word scripted, and every morsel enjoyed, I relished the vast space of each hour, of each minute, down to the last one.
With a deep sigh of contentment, I gathered my things and closed the door to that wonderful place. Quiet. Sleep. Solitude. Rest in the sparest of spare rooms, I had been blessed with it all.