Dangling earrings

On Friday afternoon my two children went to my brother’s house for the weekend. They were going to stay with him and his girlfriend for two nights. Two blissful nights. Lucky them. Gingerbread House building was in the forecast. Lucky me. No one demanding me to play with them and feed them.

As I watched my two most precious possessions leave the nest, I was not sad. I was elated, if not exhausted. It goes without saying, I love my children very much, but they suck the ever-loving life out of me sometimes. Bye-bye for the weekend, kids. Mommy loves you.

As I turned and went back into the house all crumpled and wrinkled and smelling from not having had a proper shower in two days or paid more than 5-6 minutes at a time to my appearance, my first response was to go lay down. But nah, I wanted this time for myself.

For the next four hours, I shuffled around the house picking up messes and clearing the clutter out of my life. I continued doing this on and off for the entirety of the weekend. Taking breaks, of course, to do things like go out to dinner with my husband — two nights in a row!! — and get this blog off the ground.

My kids returned mid-afternoon today, and I met them with a loving and receptive heart — but with reserves. I cleared many cobwebs out of my living space, mind, office, their rooms and toy boxes, junk draws, and kitchen over the weekend, but I also got a new perspective. One that doesn’t happen often since I am with them ALL. THE. TIME. I gained the perspective that they are living the dream, and I can probably dial back the level of expectation I place on myself as their mother. The part of my heart that I reserved when I greeted them is for me.

When I tucked them in tonight, I was glad they were home. I was glad they were home as I watched them play before dinner, leaving little tornadoes in their wake, all over my newly uncluttered house. But I didn’t mind. Because in a way, I uncluttered their lives a little, too. After they settled into being home, they got wrapped up in their own imaginative play. They had easier access to colored pencils and sticker books and various centers of toys that I so diligently set up for them.

My daughter screamed with glee when she saw the new toy area I set up in her room. I put a new plush purple carpet in the center of her babies and most favorite toys where she can sit and play. My son was thrilled with the new hooks my husband installed on the back of his bedroom door for his half-dirty clothes. I had to laugh when I went into his room at bedtime and he had even hung his dirty socks on the hooks.

This weekend felt good. I needed it, especially as the holidays approach. Lately I have felt like more and more and more “stuff” keeps getting piled on my plate. This weekend, I threw some of that stuff away — approximately eight garbage bags worth.

AND, I wore dangling earrings out to dinner with my husband — two nights in a row!! I gave up wearing them when I had babies because they always seemed to get yanked on or broken. Over the weekend, they, along with the make-up that I applied carefully and un-rushed, made me feel alive. And worth it. And knowing that I am makes me feel powerful. Mothering is my job right now, but it does not need to encompass my whole life.

I am excited to start this blog. This space that I am gifting to myself as a writer has been a long time in the making, and I am ready to take flight. And you know what? I haven’t even finished organizing my spice cabinet yet.

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