I was sitting in our front room reading while Caroline napped when it occurred to me: one year ago, this would have seemed impossible.
Back then I was the mother of a three-month-old. Life was about feedings and wakings and sleeping or not sleeping and oh yes, more feedings. I was running again by that point but I can’t remember how often. I think I was still indulging in daily Pop-Tart breaks. And by “indulging,” I mean I LIVED for them.
Reading a book, an entire book, was out of the question. This I remember clearly. Reading seemed so frivolous, luxurious — I was keeping my baby and myself alive and my house from becoming a shambles and maintaining the ability to speak coherently to my husband. Read a book, seriously?????
I dabbled in a couple. One was too bleak for me to handle at that time. In another, a minor plot element involved abandoning a baby and nope nope nope. The first book I actually finished, if I remember correctly, was Anne Lamott’s Operating Instructions. It took me a while, but I highly recommend it for new or new-ish moms, and anyone who knows one.
And now here I sit, reading Bless Me, Ultima. It’s good, but that’s not the point.
I can’t remember when it happened — when I realized Hey, I can read books again! Nor can I remember the first time I realized Hey, I don’t HAVE to do ALL THE THINGS during the baby’s nap times! I can (gasp) give myself an occasional break and thus have the physical/emotional energy to 1) be a better mom, 2) be a better wife, and 3) be happier.
BE HAPPIER! Why does this feel like such a breakthrough?
Yet there it is. Thank God. And I can’t be upset that it took time to get here. Those months of learning and struggling and thinking wistfully of my books, I needed to live those. They were good. Hard at times, but good. And honestly, I can barely write those words with a straight face because if there’s one thing I’ve learned about motherhood, it’s that there’s an endless supply of curveballs and some twist tomorrow could cause me to totally abandon the book I’m loving today.
That’s okay. I’ll make my way back.
And, to all you new or new-ish moms, or anyone going through any kind of a transition right now: so will you.
Normalcy, or what passes for it, will come back. Your passions will come back. You will come back.