I'm beginning to sense a pattern in my days... wake up with Will at 5:30 a.m., drop back to sleep; wake up to Grace talking (babbling, whatever) through the monitor, force myself up; breakfast for her, eggs for us, and playtime while I eat my breakfast. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday all have morning therapy sessions. Then a nap for her, and usually me too. Force myself up (unless nausea is too much) and do something productive - clean up the kitchen, the bedroom or the downstairs. Vacuum. Sweep. Repeat.
Grace is awake. Hello, sunshine! On Thursdays, we have to rush off to PT. It's our busiest day.
Our babysitter comes at noon, feeds Grace. I scurry off to prep for class. Teach class. Back to Grace! Afternoons blur together. We'll go on a walk, or swing and play on the porch, or play inside, and she "helps" me do more chores. We start dinner together. I feed her. If we're lucky (like this month!), Will is home for dinner. (Sorry ED rotations, I do not miss you.) We have family time and play, talking and laughing and encouraging Grace to imitate us: ba ba ba ma ma ma da da da!
Bath time for Grace! New diaper and jammies and brushing her teeth and reading books! Family prayer time: Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be, O My Jesus. Kisses and hugs for Grace, and her wubbanub and blankets. Music and stars out of her elephant. Lights out.
Game over. I am spent. My evenings are slow - I catch up on work and e-mails, before closing my computer to read something not on a screen so I will actually fall asleep at a reasonable time, hopefully before 10:30 p.m. I try not to think about my to-do list; I am trying to be more active about reading Scripture and praying the rosary (especially during October!) or divine mercy chaplet. Even one decade is better than none.
That is to say, I am learning to love where I am planted.
We're only four months into residency (?!?!?) and I am already over it. Will and I were laughing the other day about what would have happened if he had taken a surgery residency last year instead of his Masters program. GOOD LORD, we laughed. Disaster averted. It would have been worse, with less Grace time and way less together time.
Without trying to be woe-is-me, residency is tough because all I want is a best friend to come over and schmooze and drink coffee with me, or invite good friends over for dinner so we can laugh forever, or have family close enough to help me when I am sick (like I have been, for the past two weeks) or take care of Grace when I go to the OB's office (she isn't allowed to come on Friday, apparently) or just be around. Residency for the non-doctor is isolating - your spouse is gone for over half the day, swallowed up by hospital pace and work and patients.
My resentment of residency is nothing to my gratitude of the awesome program he is in, or his employer. This is not resentment of my husband working long hours, then studying for many hours - he still spends time with us. My husband is a total, total rock star.
So back to my groove.
Groovin': Part II
What I am learning in my loneliness is that there is holiness in my solace.
In motherhood, I am everything to Grace. Everything! She wants me to hold her, play with her, be with her. She tells me that I am important. She loves me. I thank God every day for my most perfect daughter, even when she is being a stubborn wiggle-worm, it is her wiggles that bring me joy! I am grateful for my 20 week roll-polly bebe deux; I am so excited to see him or her on Friday! I meditate on how to be a double mother.
In my personhood, I am learning more about myself. I am responsible for my health: I prioritize napping, exercising, eating well. I am responsible for my prayer life and my relationship with God. I am starting a prayer journal again. I am resisting the temptation to be totally overwhelmed, and to accept that I can only do so much in a day, week, month. I exercise my brain with good books. I pray for others. I spend less time online (though, arguably, tough with my jobs).
When others are not around to fill a void you feel, we must not let negativity leak in. Even if I want friends to come over, I recognize that our daily schedule is not very flexible. I recognize that I am often looking for someone to connect with, and if Will is working, it is easy to feel extra lonely. It is easy to seek the material gains - buying something special, rewarding myself for a Julie-well-done! Accountability to a budget keeps me away, but isn't it so easy to justify?
In my marriage, I am learning that I am flexible, but I do not always have to bend. I told Will I've been feeling "more married" lately - not unreasonable, I think, to feel that way about a person I've moved three times with, two pregnancies with, two graduations and now two jobs with - a kind of settling more into my vocation as wife and mother. Will says he still loves me more than anyone. Well, fine. A reasonable response to my expressive love. I am still getting used to this safe honesty. I am no longer holding back my tears during movies, be it Lord of the Rings or The Young Victoria (because beauty is worth feeling!!!) I am taught so much by the ways Will loves me.
Finding My Groove: Part III
Okay, so I haven't found my groove yet. But I'm going to yoga on Friday (trying new things), and I am doing 10 minute challenges with myself to:
- Read Scripture
- Pray [part of] the rosary or divine mercy chaplet
- Clean house (therapeutic to me)
- Clean inbox (my avoidance)
- Read for pleasure!
- Find a way to be creative
This last one is my missing piece of the grooving, I think. But even if this means I am coloring with crayons or colored pencils for ten minutes a day, I hope it gives me a sense of drive and strength as I navigate my ship through calm and waves.
Life will never line up, waiting for you to receive gladly. We must seek the beauty and truth, and pursue goodness. That is my battle cry.
How do you groove?