My family celebrates Christmas and we are on the way to see relatives on my husband’s side somewhere nice and warm. But, right now…? I am in the family bathroom of an airport, pumping way passed my preferred time, where I can hear my little boy’s cry coming from the pit of chairs across the hall from my current location. We just got word that his cousins (that have already arrived) have all gotten sick, but not to worry because it is probably just from motion sickness/the airplane. (Eeeeek! We hope so!!!)
We have golf clubs, a stroller, a car seat and base, a cooler for taking extra breastmilk home at the end of the week, and all of the other usual items you need for adults and children for a few days in the sun. I hate clutter and extra stuff, so it makes me anxious to try and travel with so many items.
I think one of the reasons I haven’t written much lately is because I feel like my life is just a big cliche now. I mean, I just spent a paragraph listing all of the stuff I have with me for this trip, and it bores me to write about it, yet I have real emotion behind these mundane circumstances. Anxiety, exhaustion, annoyance…But, however typical it is, I am really living in it. And it’s this living that makes me so fulfilled.
What I mean is that, for example, I feed my child…and there isn’t much to say about that. But, oh my, the pleasure of seeing him pause to smile or giggle at me. That’s where the lights turn on. I watch him play on the floor with his toys or just observe his joy at rolling over and over. I babysat a lot growing up and often it was pretty boring. But now there is so much meaning for me behind every block picked up or pacifier (yes, we use those) brought to his mouth by himself. And this is motherhood.
Being a mom, my husband says he has to go to the bathroom when we arrive here, so he goes while we wait. Then we pass through the gate and I find a bathroom to change my son’s diaper. And, then, about a half hour later, I finally get to do the thing I hate most, but have to do today…pump so my son has a bottle or two of milk for the plane. I don’t say this with any resentful emotion behind my words; I just mention it because it is interesting how universal it is for a mom to flip a switch the day her son or daughter is born and then not be first on the list anymore. Aside from the bathroom example, my husband is never first on the list either. I think most days he and I both feel like our needs come in last. But that’s just parenting. We still do a lot for ourselves, but there isn’t time or resources to take care like previously. And neither of us would trade this circumstance for even one day.
The Christmas story is about a traveling family. The parents did the best they could to care for their son the night he was born. It wasn’t glamorous, but it was perfect. That’s how I feel most days. Like I am living the life of so many others all over the world, and it is spectacular in its ordinary way.