3/23 – On Doing Nothing and Everything

I did not fold the diapers, and I did not wash the dishes.

I did not cook the meal I needed to eat.

I did not tidy the apartment for company, or respond to important emails.

I did not post my writing, as I had had every intention to do.

Instead, I did what you see here.

Nothing.

I sat like this for over an hour, while Q slept soundly on my chest. His breath rising and falling, his long, thick eyelashes fluttering ever so slightly, every so often.

I stared at his smooth, round cheeks, his full lips resting in a perfect little O.  I marvelled at how slack and relaxed were his little hands, resting almost on his perfect little feet. I couldn’t resist running my fingers through his hair, separating his little curls, astonished that it didn’t wake him up.

He has not slept like this in many, many months. My presence either excites the desire for play, or sends him into the frantic pursuit of milk as soon as possible. And I have no idea why he suddenly wanted this today.

What I do know is that the inner work I have been doing along this motherhood journey, all of the hours I have spent learning to understand how I feel and why, learning to recognize what I need and how to get it, learning to balance my own self-care in a job that is all consuming, is what allowed me to see this time not as nothing but instead as the most important work in the world.

I have come to know that some of us can say that, and more of us can understand that intellectually, and many of us can support others doing this work or see that what others are doing matters, or even think that this is how motherhood should be viewed. But in so many ways this message is not socially reinforced. (Was it modelled by your mother? What are the policies in your country/workplace to support parents? What is the c-section rate in your city?) I don’t think I am alone when I say that it has taken me quite a while to really feel or believe that for myself. It is not easy to become something else overnight, to trade one ingrained and often subconscious set of priorities for an entirely unfamiliar set. It is not effortless to stay grounded, stay balanced, stay open, stay patient, stay self loving, and stay awake during this marathon of a ride.

Today I sat in a rocking chair for more than an hour.

No book.

No phone.

Nothing at all scratched off my to do list.

But I was doing everything.

And for a change, I really knew it.

 

 

#SOL18 – 3/23

slice-of-life_individual

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11 Comments Add yours

  1. Beautiful and profound post.

    Like

  2. lvahey says:

    Oh my. This is just a special Slice. It’s so intimate and lovely. I know you’ll never regret that hour. And I hope you’ll have more hours in that warm embrace of just watching, just loving him, with all that you have.

    Like

    1. Mel Marie says:

      Thank you so much.

      Like

  3. onathought says:

    I love this. And I so miss those days! I’m happy you captured this slice.

    Like

    1. Mel Marie says:

      Oh man, it has been a long journey before I could understand how people could miss the infant stage… it’s coming to me 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. annahottman says:

    Your post is so well written. I love how you titled it too. I am happy that you allowed yourself to take time to spend with your child. You did a lot of work by creating this beautiful bond between you and your son. You were present today, in the moment, which is not easy to do for many parents. I hope you can create more moments like this. Cherish every minute of it as your little Q will grow up in a blink of an eye.

    Like

    1. Mel Marie says:

      Exactly 🙂 It astounds me every single day how simple – and how challenging – being present really is. Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This is a beautiful piece. I felt every word of it and have lived every word of it but never seen it captured so well.

    Like

  6. It s not easy to become something else overnight or balance those things that you are over time. So well written and such an important message.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This is a beautiful slice of motherhood. I would go back to a time of doing nothing in an instant. This line – It is not easy to become something else overnight, to trade one ingrained and often subconscious set of priorities for an entirely unfamiliar set – took me back 25 years when my oldest was born. I remember being afraid of making the transition from teacher to mom and now I can’t imagine having done anything else. I just sent my almost 25 year old back to his own life after a weekend visit but I remember the times I did nothing like they were yesterday.

    Like

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