Songs for my Son

>> Monday, September 7, 2009

I added a playlist of music that reminds me of my kiddo on here. I sing a few of these songs to him every day. They all either have to do with parenthood, or have a message that I want him to know. Obviously he's too young to understand lyrics, but hopefully he hears the love behind them and as an adult will remember the list of songs his mother always sang to him.

I love to sing. I used to dream of being a successful singer/songwriter. Now I just want to be able to put a pen to paper, pick up my guitar and write something I can do at an open mic night at a coffeehouse somewhere. I feel like its important that as a wife and mom, I don't lose myself. However, there are so many goals that I have that I'm nowhere even close to realizing.

I feel like a lot my life has involved making trade-offs--one thing for another. Clearly, I can't have everything. I remember that I used to be so certain that I could do it all. And in a way I still think that I can--just not all at once. For instance, today I was looking at the baby photos of a photographer who uses one of the same message boards as me. As much as it pains me to admit that I'm green with envy, I can't help it. I really love photography, have been dabbling in it for over ten years, but I have never had that extra push to make something happen. I would love to take a photography class. In high school photography was always full and I couldn't get in. My small Christian liberal arts college didn't have a class. Of course I could always take a class elsewhere on the side, but school is expensive, and I should probably finish my formal education before pursuing my other interests on the side. See what I mean about trade offs? School leads to career, so that's important. But all my other interests (and there are a lot of them) have taken a back seat. In addition to photography, there is cooking, sewing, creative writing, yoga. . .and throughout my pregnancy I developed an interest in becoming a doula.

In my mind, this would be the perfect job for me. The flexible schedule and the fact that I'd be working for myself would allow me to make money, contribute in a way that's important while doing something I enjoy, and still have time for my family. Of course, I dont have time to get certified right now, but there'll be time for that later, right? Right???

My creative writing sits unread in countless journals on my shelves, and about once every two years I send something to a publisher--it inevitably comes back rejected. I can't sew well enough to replace a button, and though I know my way around a kitchen I want to be great. I want to make croissants from scratch, learn the art of flambĂ©, roll my own sushi,  roast my own coffee beans, and jam my own jams with fruit that I grew in my own backyard.

(rows of my unpublished journals)
(getting busy in the kitchen on Thanksgiving)

As far as fitness, I went to yoga classes when I was pregnant and that was great! It did wonders for my back, which was wracked with sciatica the entire duration of my pregnancy. I used to go for runs and walks daily, and then I got pregnant and after a day of work could barely stand, let alone run. The nine months I was pregnant were far less than enjoyable, but I got something so beautiful out of it, even though I had to give up my daily walks and runs. Trade offs.

(me on a hike, two summers ago)

But that's not all. No, that's not all. I want to travel the world. Who doesn't, right? I want to quench my wanderlust by spending a month in Spain, island hopping around Hawaii, teaching at an English kindergarten in Dubai, volunteering at an orphanage in Africa and vacationing with the Hubby in French Polynesia. But who has the money for that with diapers and gripe water draining my account before my mat leave check even clears?

(picture of me on a map in the Caribbean, on what we didn't know would be our last pre-baby vacation.)
(picture I took on the beach in the Bahamas)
(riding a donkey in the Virgin Islands)
On top of all that (most important these days) I want to be a fantastic mom. And sometimes I feel that in order to be this one thing, I must be all the others. I must be fulfilled. I must be able to inspire my son with my art, whip up delicious meals for him and his friends at a moment's notice, tell him stories of all the places I've been and bring him along for some trips of his own. Teach him the power of growing things with his own hands and know that his fruit and vegetables were grown with love and without pesticides.

Is this what my little boy expects of me? I do not want to be that mom who is all talk and no action. I do not want to be that mom who takes their kid to the same dumpy little vacation spot two hours away every year, who allows their child to reach the age of 18 never having left the province. I do not want to be that mom who can only hand out premixed pillsbury cookies at the school bake sale, and only provides microwave popcorn as an after school snack.  I don't want to be that mom who never quite figures out how to balance home and work, so she isn't very good at either.

I tell myself there is time. I am young. I am a mom, but my life does not end here. I can still do. I can still be. Right now I breastfeed, change diapers and wipe up spit-up round the clock, but that doesn't mean that's all there ever will be. The most important thing for me to show my son, beyond art, beyond Africa, is love. And that I have in spades. It is inherent in every diaper I change, every ounce of milk I give my kid, and every time I lovingly wipe spit up off his chins. Nothing matters more than that.



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