"And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers." --Malachi 4:6
Since Fae joined our family four months ago, a stillness has settled in my stomach and a spaciousness has bloomed in my chest. Her birth, like all births, cracked my body open, and when she slipped out so did much of my hunger.
I have always been a striver, and in many ways my striving served me well. It earned me high marks in school, educational degrees, and jobs abroad. My hunger for success was braided so tightly into my identity that I could not distinguish between who I was and what I accomplished. When I had Ezra, I placed my career on hold, and although I felt that was the right decision at the time, I nursed the ache of that choice for years. It smashed my self regard to shards, leaving me with a fall out too jagged to salvage. What was I if not a professional? Even when I pursued other projects, the loss of my career weighed heavy on my heart like a wet rag. I fumbled my way through the long and sleepy days of motherhood, trying to make sense of my new title while reminiscing about my days as a museum educator. I pined for my former life the way one pines for a lost love: with a constant and fiery fixation.
And then Fae was born. Through no deliberate decision of my own, the stubborn residue of pain that had coated my heart for four years melted away, and I was free. I no longer strived for what wasn't, no longer felt a need to prove my worth through accomplishments, no longer hungered for the heady heights of success. For the first time I simply wanted to be slow, quiet, and intentional with my life and my children. This transformation was nothing short of a miracle, a gift given unbidden.
Don't misunderstand me. Mothering three children under the age of five is the hardest thing I have ever done, and I have to keep the angel of my better nature close at hand lest I lose my equilibrium. Yet, despite the magnitude of the task before me, I feel capable and full. I sit under my large leafy tree and stare at the sun dappled shadows that dance across my baby's face. I read books and honor the way beautiful words can turn like tendrils. I write daily notes of gratitude to myself and others. I go for long morning walks and breath in the sweet, damp scents of grass and soil. I hold a lady bug in the palm of my hand and listen as my son marvels at her glossy red wings and I at her determination.
I believe that at some point in the future I will want to re-immerse myself in the swift currents of professional life albeit from a place of greater integrity. But for the time being, I don't thirst for those waters. I am quenched, and I am home.