I wrote in my Facebook status the other day, “I think it’s about time to move someplace warmer.” That was even before the End of Days Blizzard hit. Around the beginning of February, those of us living here in the Heartland start yearning for sandy beaches, flip-flops, and freckled noses. Winter starts feeling long, and it only feels longer when you realize it’s really just getting going. Spring technically starts March 21, but I’ve lived here long enough to know it will be May before we really feel like the season has turned. So February always tempts us to wish away the cumbersome routine of boots, hats, gloves, and scarves, and fantasize about the smell of damp earth and warm pavement.
We have winters in motherhood, too. I guess you could say I’m in a “February” place right now. One of my kids has developed anxiety bordering on obsessive-compulsive disorder, hasn’t slept in three weeks, and wakes me up several times a night to complain about her insomnia. Our toddler still nurses sometimes at night, and the third kid seems to time her nightmares precisely when everyone else is finally actually sleeping. I feel like I’m back in the newborn days of “If only I could get four hours of uninterrupted sleep, I might feel human again.”
During the day, I am homeschooling three kids at totally different ages, with totally different needs, so I feel like I’m constantly being pulled in three different directions. I also have a husband, a paying job, a house to manage, and a need not to lose myself completely, so make that seven or eight (or twelve, just for good measure) directions.
So some days I do find myself daydreaming about all the things I’ll be able to do when the kids are grown. How clean my house will be. How I’ll be able to go to the bathroom without interruption. How much time I’ll have to do all the creative projects I want to do but can’t fit into the schedule. How little laundry I’ll have to fold.
Then I read something from Heidi at Mt. Hope Academy that really stuck with me:
“I have embraced the concept of life seasons. It is counterproductive for me to dream of days that belong in a season other than the one I’m in.“
That’s the truth, isn’t it? Wishing away these rough days and nights is as unproductive as wishing away the February snow. It’s there. For now. And just as we create traditions like following up a good sled run with hot cocoa and marshmallows, I need to remember to cradle the good things about this stage of my motherhood. Snuggling up a freshly bathed BoyWonder in his footy pajamas. Treasuring Dolittle’s slight lisp caused by her front teeth only being 1/3 grown in. Recognizing that The Muse is so close – so close – to leaving childhood, and that her belief that all she needs to be safe in this world is Mom and Dad close by won’t last much longer.
So I will not wish this season away. I will build snow forts and crochet scarves and let the frigid air fill my lungs with gratitude and joy. I will find the memories worth clinging to, and let the rest melt away with the spring thaw. Before long, the snow will be swallowed up, new life will take its place, and we’ll have a whole new season to embrace.
And hopefully, I’ll get a little sleep when it gets here. 🙂