The twin experience has been intense. The boys are in their seventh week sans womb. I knew I would be tired and I knew that there would be a lot of work. I guess what I hadn't anticipated was the ways in which I would stretch and grow. Even as we shift closer to a sense of normalcy, I still find myself moving from task to task amped up because I know, inevitably and whether or not I'm ready for it, each day I'm introduced to a new skill, a new insight, a new challenge, or, as is more accurate, a mixture of a couple dozen of all three of these.
However, that underlying pulse of excitement in all I do keeps company with exhaustion. Not just an exhaustion from lack of sleep but from so much physicality. And then there's exhaustion also from juggling life's priorities. When I shifted my focus from sleeping well to nursing comfortably everything became one big hot mess. When I moved the schedule around priority uno, getting out of the house every evening for a walk, Thomas's nighttime routine vanished into thin air. After making my 1st real meal, I couldn't catch back up with the dishes for what felt like a week. It's laughable how much experimentation I've taken to each day in reaching for balance.
But any inclination to throw out a "this is so hard!" would need to be followed up with one of the greatest revelations I've had since finding out our one was two. Our perception of how difficult our lives are is often based on the circumstances thrust upon us rather than the choices we make. What we often mean by "this is so hard" is that it is difficult in a sense we didn't expect and maybe even don't care for. I'm not necessarily working any harder within this new set of circumstances than I could have been working when I was mother to Thomas alone. And that has me wondering how much more I can stretch and grow if I set my sights on even greater heights, even more priorities, even more conflicts needing to be obliterated with my Super Woman skills.
And here we have a bit of neurosis. It is terribly true that something strange is happening inside of me that's urging me to dip deep, really deep, but I will pull myself back for a moment in the recollection that women tend to do this. We put so much on ourselves. We live for the exhaustion. Our heart beats as if to say yes to others' needs.
If anything is difficult for me, it's knowing when I should be selfish so that I can serve and love as I'm capable. Yesterday, I slipped out onto the porch to sit on the steps and drink my coffee. I listened to the neighborhood wake up. I played a bit of I spy squirrel. I stared ahead at the peach-ish house opposite ours imagining how much better it could look with some new windows, darker roof, and a bit of landscaping (while telling all thoughts which bubbled up about our own unfortunate state of affairs to sit down and shut up). Best of all, I breathed in and out over and over again. I made myself slow down physically and mentally. When I get so busy doing I can forget why it is that I'm doing it all. For that ten minutes of quiet cool bliss, I refocused on not getting caught up in proving anything to anyone but instead to fill first and foremost my time with my family with touches of joy and patience and just fully being there instead of flitting in and out of vision to meet needs before flying off for the next thing. Being gentle with myself, with that cup of coffee and some fresh air (my goodness, I hadn't been outside in more days than I care to count), made room for my gentleness with others.
Hard is what I make of it. We, for the most part, can speed things up and slow them down when we wish to make room for breathing. I plan on a lot more sitting still and doing nothing to balance out a rush to be bigger, faster, stronger. Because if I'm not going to get it all done anyway, I might as well step outside to smile at the sun.