Wednesday, February 10, 2010

More Play, Less of Everything Else

Last night I had this dream. We were at the beach, and it was really crowded. Trevor wanted me to see something down the shore, and told me to leave the kids and come with him. I didn't think about it and just followed, and suddenly it occurred to me that I had left my children alone on a crowded beach, which was on, of course, water. I turned and started running back, and I just couldn't move fast enough. I finally woke myself up, shaking.

This dream doesn't have anything to do with Trevor, I don't think. If anything he works extra hard so that I can be home with the kids. No, it's more about the babysitter.

Twice a week a babysitter comes to be with the kids so I can write. I've taken more freelance jobs lately and am enjoying the projects and the grown-up time. I also go for a run and do any quick errands that are tough to do with two little ones.

The babysitter is wonderful. My girls absolutely love her, and are so excited when it's her day to come to the house. Part of my hiring her was for their sanity, too -- they both have a tiny need to be involved in stuff that doesn't include me. They thrive when they get a few hours a week to do activities that I'm not creating for them. In fact, I had been considering putting Marta in a toddler program once or twice a week for two hours or so, just to let her do stuff without me once and awhile.

The sitter has worked out perfectly, and has been a wonderful addition to our family. She just plays with the girls -- no cleaning, very little cooking. If the girls are watching a show, she sits and cuddles with them. If the girls want to go outside, out they go on an adventure. If I were home I'd be folding clothes or making dinner or a million other little things.

I do sit and play, of course, but not all day. For five hours, twice a week, our sitter is focused on my girls. It's a fabulous arrangement, I think, and so do they.

With my freedom I find that I expect... more freedom. I can't wait for bedtime, when I should cherish the playtime. When we're all running around town I sometimes think about how much simpler it'd be if I could do it alone. I'm longing for a weekend away with my husband.

But then I realize what I'm thinking about, and I get a lump in my throat. My babies are only going to be babies for so long -- I shouldn't be finding ways to get out of the house alone so much.

This doesn't happen all the time. Every single day, at least a few times, I am caught by the reality that I get to be their mom. I am dumbstruck by their nearness, by their relation. I cannot believe that they, these amazing, talking, breathing, thinking, playing creatures are my children.

But I'm finding that the more I'm away, the easier it is to leave again. And every now and then, like when those moments above hit me, I am shocked at my wanting to be away. How could I leave them, even for a second? Right now, sitting in the coffee shop I go to to work, I am secretly crying because I'm thinking about Marta's little head of curls cuddled on my lap this morning before we left to pick Berit up from preschool. "Watch a show WITH Mama," she said. Stay here; don't do the dishes.

Berit doesn't have school on Friday and I'm planning a day of their favorite activity -- the carousel. It's all the way in Traverse City and is a long drive for Marta to handle twice in one day, but once they're there, they're in heaven. I get car sick at the mention of going around in circles, but on Friday I'll ride as many times as they want. They can run all over the treehouse at the mall and I won't worry about germs. We'll get cookies and those soft pretzel hotdogs.

But still. It's time for me to slow down a little. My house is going to get messy again, because I'm going to start playing more. I'm going to ignore the phone and return calls after they're in bed. We're going to go outside every day. My pants will be messy, because I'm going to sit on the floor as much as possible.

I'm still going to leave when the sitter comes -- I think it's good for everyone. But when I come home I'm going to have a pizza and not worry about dinner or clean up. Movies are going to be watched as a family and not as a time filler. Life will revolve around family, not around home-buying.

Sometimes, I think, the bad dreams lead to good things.

1 comment:

Liza said...

So true. So cute. Way to go! Could I hire you to write for my blog? I think everyone who once follow it, has lost hope in me. I should post: Out busy having fun, no time to blog. Pictures to come....