By Terri Lee
PROMPT — Who am I today?
Today I am a mom trying to find a small window of quiet to sip a drink of tea, check an email, and hideout in the bathroom while my children run in circles. I am the self-employed person secretly wishing my contracts cancel or pause so I don’t feel the pressure of work while entertaining two kids. And I am the person terrified of what that will mean for money and resources and future work. Today I am in awe of those with the strength to work full time leaving the house each day out of duty and obligation and in deep envy for those jobless families using this time to connect and explore the outdoors.
Today I find peace and calm doing nothing in particular but making toast and watching the time tick away. I am not thinking about tomorrow or yesterday or what will happen in five or ten minutes but living in the moment.
I find joy and gratitude that I have not one but two kids. Kids young enough for the energy and imagination to play all day without a care in the world. Kids old enough to play together and be silly and create independently, sometimes. My children have found a connection and a bond. We have learned the little one’s made-up words and expressions and try to teach her new sounds and expressions. All of this only possible by the endless and uninterrupted time we have right now.
Yet I am fatigued and exhausted by the disagreements, the complaints, the endless hours. Bored is the new normal of these kids despite rooms full of toys, bins full of art supplies. Bored in a house large enough to play in a different room throughout the day with a yard filled with rocks and sticks and dirt. Isn’t it ironic that we used to dream of the day when we had more time? Time to play in the yard, time to pull out old toys, time to jump on beds. But now that time is seemingly endless we sit and ponder what we can do. With all that we have, why are we still sitting and staring mindlessly wondering if anything in front of us is inspiring?
Today I try to reset. Reset my internal energy. Reset my mindset. Reset my footing.
Time is no longer a 24 hour day. No longer a 7 day week. No longer a 30 day month.
Life is at a standstill and yet my heart is beating, my hair is growing and I am still aging.
Today I am a sponge. Soaking in every moment of laughter and silliness with my two young kids, soaking in every little moment of time for myself and squeezing out the stress at the end of the day so I can bounce back and absorb the surprises of tomorrow.
Today I am me. The most aware, acute, present self. Today I explore each moment through my own lens. And with my own emotions. Today I am mom, daughter, wife, and individual. Today I am me.
Terri Lee is a self-employed design consultant living in Jamaica Plain, MA. She has two young children 4 and almost 2. She had a long hiatus writing until she rediscovered her voice through Listen to Your Mother in 2015. She has been a member of the Women’s Writing Circle to build her voice and uses expressive writing to help find her creativity and inner peace. This piece was written in the 15 mins of quiet I had while both kids were sleeping, just in time for the first napper to wake up.