Circling Back

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Being a mother who stays at home has a few things in common with being a writer.

You spend a lot of time working on something without knowing if it’s going to be any good in the long run.
There’s no right way to do it.
Even when you’re not actively doing it, it’s still happening (plot twists and sentences crafted as you saute onions, a toddler eyed as he moves about the room while you’re, say, writing a blog post).
And you go through cycles – times when it’s easy, times when it’s impossible, times in which it keeps you up late at night or wakes you early in the morning, or both.

I am contemplating coming back to this space, but less for poetry. The poetry that leaked out of me when I had an infant and therefore spent quite a lot of time sitting with him in my arms, watching him sleep, watching him nurse, watching him watch the world. Time to make poems in my head. Time to notice everything beautiful.

But now he is walking and talking and climbing and shouting. The quiet stillness is a rare treat, not the majority of my day. I steal moments to soak in the pretty pictures and simple words of the blogs of other women, trying to remind myself of that quiet.

But their knitting projects and steaming tea cups, their fall foliage and happy children, they are not mine. They are someone else’s beauty. Six years ago, had I been thinking about this, I’m sure my existentialism to feminism professor would have gotten a paper on it. Instead he got a tongue-in-cheek essay on Kierkegaard’s Two Ages I dashed off in my hurry to get to Thanksgiving break while I was in the midst of considering breaking up with my boyfriend. Now, instead, there’s a blog post.

So I’m paying attention. And I’m writing about it. Today.

I told a friend the other day that I don’t ever feel I’m not doing anything right. I just never feel like I can do everything right. I can have a clean house and make a good dinner. Or I can do yoga and get the laundry done. Or I can write and take a long walk with my son and the dog. But not all of these things can be done every day, and they, too, go in cycles.

My son has cycles, too. Brief obsessions. At the moment, it’s with the record player. And possibly my gingerbread. It’s natural. I just need to remember that.

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I have become one of Those Knitters, projects tucked away, unfinished, abandoned. A baby blanket I’m not sure I like. An octopus for a friend’s baby that was looking nothing like an octopus. A hat for my son needing only an I-cord to finish it. A sweater complete save for so many loose ends to tie in.

Not just those, but the ones I am Working On – the scarf that will go with the mittens I’ve already knit, the socks for my cousin, the pants for my son, the dish cloth for a gift.

I feel I have such unfinished projects tucked away all over my life. In writing and learning and reading. In dishes to cook and miles to run. I keep feeling like I will have accomplished something as soon as I cross x, y, and z off of my list, but there are always more chores, more tasks, more ideas. My husband asks why I can’t just be happy here, now, with all that we have, and I don’t know. I want to be.

I know that we have it all. I do. But I want more.

Just keep stitching.