Thursday, August 16, 2007

Am I living the life?

Before I get to some thoughts, here's an update on Miss Claire Nicole:

- She is almost 8 months old and sitting up without support and is quite sturdy

- She is beginning to learn to creep, on her way to crawling in a few months

- She LOVES food. She has not rejected ANYthing yet and does not require a bib while
eating because she scarfs every bit down. She is quite angry when the food is gone. She
is also quite angry when adults are eating food that they are not sharing with her.
Sometimes chewing on a big raw carrot or a rice cake suffices her for the minute

- She is quite cute, people tell us often. Of course we find her adorable, but I'm afraid
we might have to teach her how to handle her beauty in the future and keep her big little head from getting "big" in another sense. She is wonderful though- quite cute

- Claire is also very vocal. Not so much in public, until she warms up to the new environment,
but is very loud at home making all sorts of screams, razzes, and spit flying noises. We can't take
her into our living room until a certain time in the morning because she wakes the neighbors above us with her high pitch blurting. Needless to say , she is very strong willed and very
energetic and continues to hate napping (unlike her mother)

A friend recently asked me how "real life" is? She was meaning "How is the married/family life , is it all it is cracked up to be- do you miss your freedom? How is it in comparison to the single career woman's life?"

Am I living the life- the "dream" life?

I'm never quite sure how to answer this question, though it's already come to me from many people in different forms.

First, I was not shooting for a "dream" life. I somehow found an amazing man that I gave up beloved singleness for. Keith was too amazing to pass up. And as far as my daughter, well she was quite the surprise- and to be honest, I treated the first few months of pregnancy as a burden rather than a joy. So it's true that I have a beautiful daughter and a topnotch husband who loves and respects me.

So am I saying my marriage is perfect? Certainly not perfect. We are far from knowing how to deeply affirm each other, how to be truly intimate, how to sacrifice til it hurts, how to submit to the other's dream and intuitions, how to be there for each other when we are exhausted from everyday life, how to interact socially in a way that is fulfilling to both of us.

However, I think for a couple that has been married a year and a half and has already dealt with pregnancy, childbirth, job transitions, moving to new regions of the country, difficult family issues, we are doing quite well. I would not say my marriage is perfect, but for me it is as ideal as I could ask for at this point in my life.

Motherhood, is it all it has been said to be- is it enough to leave a career for, enough to make you want to home school, enough to give up all my desires for the sake of my child? All I can say is that motherhood is enough to make me nurse my child through pain, to wake up at all hours of the night to comfort her, to watch her sleep for minutes on end because it soothes my soul, to put my education on hold to be with in her infant year. I still have my own desires, my own dreams, my own need for freedom and independance- I simply have to change the timing. Already Claire grows more independant each day and I learn to slowly release my hold on her each morning. I hope she participates in watching her mother find a vocation and seek out unfulfilled dreams. Motherhood inspires me to bring a whole new person into my dreams that I never knew would be there alongside of me.

I do wish I knew what to study next, what to get a masters in , what to spend the majority of my days doing to add goodness and compassion to the world. I did not have the option to put my marriage and motherhood on hold- my opportunity was too good to pass up:)- so my days searching out a career will simply include Keith and Claire. It would probably be easier to study and jump into the job field without the "distraction" and "responsibility" of a young family, but I will instead find a new level of motivation in Claire watching and an extra touch of support from a husband who believes in my abilities and ambitions.

I have to remind myself constantly that life is NOW. It is not 5 years from now when I'm out in the "real world". Claire and I have a real world everyday in our tiny apartment. Keith and I have a real world as we lay in bed talking and laughing at night. I want to travel- to see all I can see of this world, but I know there will be no more answers out "there" than I can find here.

I'm trying to pursue joy in my world as it is today, and believe my life now is as ideal as it can be for me.

So, friend, I am living "the life". For the most part, I've made good choices. And, where I haven't, I've cast off regret and committed to the decisions I've made - so that my ideals will be realized in all circumstances- my ideals of seeking and knowing the presence of the Almighty, His shelter and His grace through the faces in front of me.