soft, easy morning

Yesterday was a trying day.  I was tired and cranky, unmotivated and easily overwhelmed.  Claire was tired and cranky, and wanted me and didn't at the same time.  Honestly it was a day that I preferred she not want me.  At least for a few sweet stretches of time.  I just needed to..... be.  Just a little.

Mike was home, it was his fourth of four days off in a row.  He was considerably more motivated and less overwhelmed than I, though likely just as tired.  We are both moved into that space of feeling overwhelmed and frustrated at times, and we (not always gracefully and courteously) ride the line of taking it out on each other and just cruising through our mood without affecting the whole house.  Luckily we're not usually feeling that way at the same time.  He instead was operating in a more relaxed and roll-with-it kind of way.  We are both often feeling like that, too.  I guess the trick is finding the groove where we are simultaneously operating in the roll-with-it the majority of the time, and trying not to find ourselves both in the overwhelmed-and-frustrated at the same time.  A dance, really.  One all couples are familiar with.  And perhaps especially after they share parenthood and all of the new restrictions placed on one another's time and rest and such.

And so, given the defeated way I felt at the end of yesterday (which was, of course, not without it's high moments~ ones such as digging potatoes with my loves, watching and listening to storms rolling in, and having a surprise visit by a woman whose great grandfather had built (or financed the building of, anyway) our home in 1924...) it was a very good decision on my part to go to sleep with Claire last night.  Sometime before 8:30.  No checking of emails, no writing of blog posts, no movies.  Nothing.  Just sleep.  And it came so easily.

I've gotten into the bad habit of getting her down and then staying up way too late in order to have some "me" time.  But I've recently realized that it tends to backfire on me.  I stay up way too late and then toss and turn, too wound up to find the sleep I so need.  It seems as soon as I do fall asleep that's when she wakes, still needing mama to find her way back to sleep.

Well, this morning I woke while Mike was getting ready for work.  Typically, if I wake that early it is just to stumble, bleary-eyed, to the bathroom and then kiss him goodbye and return to bed for an hour or two.  But this morning was different.  I kissed him goodbye and then noticed something.  Something I hadn't noticed for a while.

I noticed that I felt well rested.

What a pleasant thing it is.  It was 6:30am and so really, I'd had close to 10 hours of sleep, only slightly disturbed by a waking wee one once or twice in the night.  I sat on the back stoop petting Wolfie and weighing out my options.  For the first time in (well, let's see, Claire is nearly 2 1/2....) about 2 1/2 years, I didn't feel like I needed to go back to sleep.  I made coffee, toasted some bread, sliced up a nectarine and headed out to the deck.

The morning was chilly, such a nice change from the hot days we've had lately.  I grabbed a long sleeved shirt and the novel I checked out from the library over a month ago and had yet to start.  I listened to the birds and realized, while trying to see what the bees and hens were up to, that my glasses were still on Claire's bed side table.  Not wanting to wake her and give up this precious and rare morning, I carried on.  A half hour or so later I remembered the extra pair of glasses in my room and so I got those when I was inside refilling my cup.

It was a soft and easy morning.  Breakfast for one.  I listened to the sounds around me, the train, a mile and a half in one direction, and a proud hen singing her "I just laid an egg I am so amazing!" song from about 50 feet in the opposite direction.  Birds all around.  I noticed a robin carrying a piece of straw into a tall shrub and guessed they were busy making or fixing another nest.

I went inside and grabbed some scissors, then headed to the side flower bed to cut some coreopsis for a bouquet to bring in.  Right about then I heard Claire crying.  I went in to find her on the front porch heart-breakingly asking "whe-eere's my paaaapaaaaa?" and looking at the empty parking spot where his car had been last night.  We snuggled into the hammock that we put up just yesterday and I did my best to give her a slow easy morning as well, swinging just a little as I explained papa was at work and that he'd be home tomorrow and by the way, did you see those pretty yellow flowers?  We stayed like that for a bit and then I coaxed her into the kitchen with me to arrange the flowers, one large bouquet for the dining room and one smaller one for her room.  She carried hers into her room with a huge smile on her face.  We headed outside to greet the morning together and after I moved some stakes and fencing, we let the hens out to roam in an area of the yard safe from Wolfie and his less-than-friendly (ahem) chicken tendencies.

She ate breakfast and then we got on the bike to ride into town so that I could put out the sign for the tailgate market in the morning.  Though I'm not a vendor this year, I still volunteer to do this small task and in exchange I'll get to vend fee-free should I decide to at some point during the season.  We rode through the neighborhood and then down the greenway, coming out just a couple blocks from the market.  Afterwards we stopped along the greenway on the way home and played in the creek for a bit.  We saw a snake, threw rocks, watched little fish and splashed around.  While splashing a stick in the water, Claire sang a little song about "going on a trip tooo-daaaaay!"with a huge grin on her face and I realized in that moment that a 15 minute bike ride and a stop at the creek constitutes a 'trip' to her and thought hey maybe she's onto something there.

Back at home she requested snacks and her yoga dvd.  I happily obliged and as she mostly watched and occasionally participated, yelling "warrior two, I am strong! warrior two, I am capable!!", I got a snack for myself and read a bit more of my book.  Then a nice long phone call from a dear friend and by the time that was over, naptime was imminent.  I laid down with her and read in bed next to her for a while after she fell asleep.  Even though I'd fully intended to rest with her, I guess that good night's sleep left me not needing it because a few chapters in and I got up to write.

Post nap and post post-nap snack, she played quietly with her barn and animals, lining them all up in a long row, mamas and babies together.  I think she recognized that the giant tortoise was a bit out of place at the farm, because she just kind of lumped him in between all of the chickens.  Evolutionarily, I suppose that's about right.  But I don't think she was going for that.

We took a trip to the thrift store and grocery store.  She was a champ at both, and I even got to try a few things on.  Found a few shirts, a skirt and a pair of shorts as well as a few little household things.  Two glasses and a fork for her, a small basket to organize her art supplies in, a wire basket that I will either try to rig up to put on my bike or to hold flowers on the deck railing.  Also a large red square tin that used to hold some kind of biscotti, identical to one I found at the same goodwill a year or two ago.  I plan to drill holes in the bottoms of them and plant my new scented geraniums in them.  Oh, and a plastic toy camera for Claire.  She has been taking pictures of me all night long.

Home.  Dinner.  And now a mango/coconut milk popsicle for Claire while her bath gets ready and I finish up on here.  A little Avett Brothers playing on Pandora.  A nice evening.

And I'm still feeling the effects of my soft and easy morning.  I approached the day full of relaxed and roll-with-it.

 I am better because of it.  And she responds likewise.
 It is another kind of dance.

The house is buzzing with contentment and a gentle pace seemed to have been set for the day.  I am reminded of the way I used to tease my mom about getting up hours before the rest of us, and just to have coffee and read the paper.  Oh, how little I understood about what those hours truly meant for her.  I'll call her soon and tell her that now I finally get it.

A new resolution, then.  Of the early summer sort I suppose (surely they can't just be for New Year's).  I hereby resolve to make a habit of going to sleep when she does, or shortly thereafter.  As often as possible, and certainly when I am feeling depleted and overwhelmed.  To turn the computer off earlier.  To acknowledge that being well rested makes things so much lovelier.  It was not only my coffee cup that got a refill this morning, it was so much more.


  1. Oh, how I long for one of these. I, too, try to catch those rare 'me' moments after my 2 and a bit boy goes to bed. As a result, I'm usually playing catch up all the next morning and crash at naptime. I think you may be on to something!

    1. It was a real treat, that is for sure. And one I'm realizing that I can choose to give to myself again and again if I really want/need it. It can be so tempting to stay up and feel like a real grown up, doing whatever I want to..... but breakfast alone in the cool morning breeze, with a book in hand, was so so so much more replenishing and grounding than an hour (or so) spent staring at the computer screen and clicking from one place to the next to the next.

      It was a gentle reminder of what my true priorities and such are, and of what I'd really describe as "me" time.

  2. Sleep, so important, so simple, yet so easy to overlook. I'm the same way. Rarely do I get the amount that I need. Mostly due to wanting my own quiet time after bedtime. Like a dog chasing his tail, I suppose.

    It does feel life changing to wake up completely rested.

    I love your description of your day. So sweet. So endearing. You'll appreciate re-reading this post in years to come, I bet.

    1. thanks, Nichole. As I wrote it I kept thinking that it was so redundant, so boring... but so wonderful at the same time. Sometimes that's what I need most in this space, to just record the mundane ins and outs of the days that I want so badly to absorb and remember for years to come.


thanks for taking the time to read and comment~