It is very late at night.
If ever a novel were to be written about my life, this is how the first sentance would read. Heck, it's probably how the first sentance of every chapter should read. It often feels like the most real moments of my life happen after 10 pm. After the big baby has gone to bed, and the little baby has eaten and eaten and eaten and then gone to bed, after the laundry has been folded (but rarely ever put away) after the little remnants of our day have been tidied up and tucked away-- that is when I'm finally free to pick up whatever project I'm working on at the moment, to spend an hour or three on something wholly of my own choosing. Even though this time often stretches into the wee sma's, even though I very often trade a much needed hour of sleep before the baby's first waking, I rarely ever choose to give up this little block of my day.
Tonight was no different-- I was rushing to get all the bits and pieces of our little gifts for Grady's teachers ready before the last day of school tomorrow. There were little hands to stitch, little treats to bake. At the back of my mind was a (big!) little project of my own I'm working on-- I just wanted all of this hurry-up to be over so I could make my way into the studio to think and tinker. But then, as I sat bleary-eyed trying to write coherent and thoughtful notes to his teachers, I had the thought that it is moments like these that connect me to all the other mothers out there. These tired moments, very late in the day, when we go on working for our children long after they are tucked into their beds.
Motherhood is a tricky thing. I left my job when Grady was born, taking with me many wonderful memories, but without a trace of regret. I was ready and prepared to embrace all the moments of motherhood-- hands-on, deep down in the trenches motherhood-- the hills and the valleys. That first year, there were a lot of mountains to climb, a lot of deep valleys and sad days and so few peaks from which to survey, triumphant. But then, slowly, it got a little easier. He slept a little better. Words came. Little rituals evolved. My angry little baby grew into a this big, big boy who goes through his days with a song on his lips and in his heart, and my own heart has grown to a size I never even dreamt possible.
It's a big, big job we have, holding these little hands. Hang on tight for as long as you can.