It’s hard to believe at the beginning of this month we packed up our home and set off across the country. That apartment is still very real to me, and I imagine to Sapphire as well. It was the only home she had ever known. We were very ready for our new adventure, but still, the past and our first home together as a family is still more solid than our future home and community. Right now we are in a no-man’s-land on the East coast with family. We got to Winnipeg from BC after a week of long days in the car and mostly camping, and, I have to say, I was done. We were all cranky and exhausted and I was having some pregnancy-related pains from sleeping on thermarests on the ground. A large storm system started chasing us in the praries and we were just missing hail the size of golf balls. After a lot of thought, Haley and I decided it was in everyone’s best interest for Sapphire and I to fly out to my family while he drove the rest of the way across Canada –stopping to see our new home for three months and meeting his new boss. In reality, we could only manage 4-5 hours of driving per day with Sapphire.
Right now our time is divided between grandparents, great grandma, aunties and old friends. We go to sleep each night with our bellies full of wild blueberries, peaches, raspberries, hodge podge and maritime fish chowder and brown bread. We swim at great grandma’s cottage (Sapphire’s first words of the day are often “wawa!?”) swing on the tree swings. We read books that once belonged to my mother, race horses that once belonged to me (made by my grandfather), and generally relax and soak up summer. The support of my family and friends has been so welcome and appreciated.
I am finding inspiration and appreciation in the culture and history of my home province. The old red barns, rolling fields, and even the old storybooks and toys my grandmother and mother have saved.
The thing about being in the middle of a transition is that it can open your eyes and refresh you. Suddenly, new prospects seem possible, and I am lifted out of the fog I was in since Sapphire’s birth. Internal changes have also been pushing new ideas into my consciousness….Today Sapphire is 18 months old and the changes I see in her lately are both amazing and sometimes frustrating. I recently read on a Waldorf early childhood list I am on about the development of children this age –basically that they are discovering their selfhood and feeling brave and at the same time so vulnerable and needing mommy more than usual. I’ve been feeling this push-and-pull very keenly as the days go by. There is a lot of running, diving, tantrums and need to be “free” and conversely, always know where I am, what I’m doing and have a quick “moots” (her word for nursing) and snuggle about 50 times per day. So despite ample help and attention from others, I am a bit worn out from this see-saw of wild abandon (constant vigilance that my tot is safe and not running in traffic, jumping into deep bodies of water, or eating poisonous berries) balanced with intense neediness an a lot of screaming and crying around sleep times or when I leave the room (to pee?!). Add to this the intense nature of my child, a lot of overly swollen mosquito bites (a new thing for us after our arid home with few insects that suck blood), jet lag, and Daddy’s absence along with many new environments and changing routines and you get a sometimes cranky, overwhelmed child who can’t wind down.
We are settling down with Haley’s arrival and trying to enjoy this time, fraught as it is with unknowns and qualms about the future. I am feeling another inner pull from this baby now too as I begin to feel kicks and pokes more strongly. I feel the need to pull away slightly from my first baby, just when she is pulling away but still needs me intensely. My patience with the chronic lack of sleep of the last year and a half is waning, and I am looking for more balance with my relationship to myself and to her, as well as my husband…knowing that soon another being will be needing a lot of time and energy from me too. I wonder, like so many moms with one baby already, how on earth I will maintain the love and attention (and TIME, and ENERGY), I give to Sapphire as well as add that same level of intense care for a second child and somehow manage to shower and maybe put food on the table and have a good snuggle with my husband. The task seems daunting. If I have learned anything though, it is that there will be a new normal, and some things will have to give. In part I am relieved because as a first child myself, I think it can be excessive (in this culture particularly) how much attention a first child gets. It can feel like pressure and can create a vortex where the child needs a lot of adult input (despite our best intentions, they are the *only* one).
I also find myself thinking a lot about our rhythm, and how I can bring more love and patience and sanity to what has been a chaotic year. I have discovered a new found commitment to my career and finding a beautiful way to help support our family while not leaving my children. Again, this blog has me so inspired as she navigates a lifestyle that is so similar to what I dream of. Expect many posts on this in the coming months as I ready my body and my home for our new arrival.
Peace and happy summertime,