Saturday, July 18, 2015

Finding Myself

This last week our family revisited Pedernales Falls State Park.  We had first visited in May of last year in this post. It's a bit wild to see myself wearing a little four month old last May, and now to have another toddler and be seven months into my next pregnancy. We also enjoyed visiting after all the flooding and seeing the changes it had brought to the area.

Going on adventures like this always revive me in ways like nothing else can. Packing our backpacks and sun hats and hitting the hill country roads, in the midst of parenthood and exhaustion. I am discovering that time out of the city and in large amounts of wild, just bring life back to my weary days. I think its pretty normal to be tired. I have a three and one year old. And I am thirty weeks pregnant. But being in the sun and watching Andrew and Blanche float down a river, it helps clear the noise out of my mind, it helps me to see all the beauty I know I own deep down. Andrew said that at one point floating with Blanche he sort of forgot who he was for awhile. Work was far off and it was just him and his little girl.

I love watching my girls explore. There is something inside of me that takes a step back at anything too new in the wilderness. Another country or culture and I'll be stupidly brave, but hiking and heights scare me more than I sometimes realize. When I first saw the fresh artesian well and the rapids it was making I envisioned both girls swept off their feet and somehow drug into water above their depth. Of course the world to my children is often unknown anyway, so they take small rapids in the wild as another fun thing to try. Both girls climbed up loose rocks in the midst of gushing water and made it to the top. They were totally unfazed. They help me remember so much of the time to simply observe and be there, but to not stop them from something they are capable of doing.

Today has been a long day. I felt like all morning I tried to sit down and then I was needed for something. I have been thinking all day, stuck in my mind and in my own little world, how I would write once they were asleep. Thinking of all the things I could say. But then tonight as I was cleaning up the kitchen something came to me. So much of the time I hear other mothers or people talk about "Not loosing yourself in motherhood," which I totally understand. Today I felt huge and pregnant. I felt like I smelled and there was no real way to feel like myself, mostly because I have this huge pregnant belly. I showered and even shaved my legs but once my clothes were snuggly back on and wet hair pulled back, I hardly felt pretty. I clean up messes and wipe a lot of bottoms all day long. I get why some women tell mothers to go get a coffee and get away from the kids. Go remember you are someone. But as I cleaned all the food off the floor tonight, my body ached as I bent over to scrub the kitchen table. I looked out the patio door to see Andrew watering the garden and the girls playing sweetly. Blanche had been inside earlier crying about not being able to make her Halloween costume tonight. Three year olds that don't nap can often run into this sort of problem. I was grouchy and knew Andrew was just as tired. He had worked and then came home and made dinner. I kept trying to shove everyone out the back door just so I could clean up another mess,  but this time in peace. But while I was cleaning I heard, "Find yourself in motherhood." Find myself. In the midst of pregnancy pains and hormonal mood swings. In the survival and perseverance of it all... find myself. Find my strength, find my voice to ask for help in the midst of weakness. Find forgiveness and humility.

When I am tired or really pregnant I start wondering what life without kids would look like. During the 4th of July I felt a bit sorry for myself after the fact. Andrew had worked until 1am that night, and I had cleaned a lot of poop out of a baby pool alone. I imagined sitting in a kayak somewhere in Austin watching fireworks with Andrew. Which maybe it would be way too crowded on the water for a kayak, but still. I thought about the fun things I would do living in Austin without having a whole bunch of babies. But, as Andrew mentioned, if it wasn't for our babies we probably wouldn't even live in Austin. And I probably wouldn't know much about how restored I feel after being in the wilderness. All of this to say, that just because I am a mom and my life is pretty wild during the day and not as wild as I would sometimes like at night or on the weekend... doesn't mean I can't learn more about myself. I am still changing and growing new passions. I just have to stop and see it. I have to remember to continue to find myself and not lose myself in the midst of motherhood.

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