I have two days to go. Only two. A governing body of professionals in our school district have decided that 14 whole days is required to celebrate Christmas. Actually, I don’t know who makes that call. Someone who is mad at me, I presume.
Boredom hovers over our home. I wonder how it was possible to birth the thirstiest, and boredest, children on the planet. Maybe the two go hand in hand, the boreder they get, the thirstier they get. The fog is thick, making imaginative play, creative thinking or reading of any kind impossible. I conclude that my children can no longer see the words on the page through the boredom. The only thing left to do is sit as close to me as possible, and stare. Even the dog. She is bored. And staring.
My arsenal is bare. I have suggested all I know to keep us busy, thriving and going these past two weeks. Even TV is old news. Nothing left to do but sit, and stare, and hold on. The boredom creates a shaky, anxious feeling inside me. We can all feel it.
I remember reading an article somewhere that talked about boredom being good for kids. That it actually makes them smarter. I decide I love that article. That even though they are staring at me, and sighing loudly, they are actually turning into little geniuses. This thought moves me safely back to the illusion that I have it all together. Lying to myself about this gives me something to do.
Finding something to do. That, I know, is actually what is making me feel shaky. It’s me. Not the kids. I am bored. I feel uncomfortable in silence. Unsafe when stationary. So we go, and do, and push so I can pass the hours until bedtime. As if time wasn’t moving fast enough, I partner with it to move the day along quicker. My eight year old’s face is changing. The early years are falling off, he just looks..older. His life has flown by. Back to panic. Back to shaky. Moms know time is flying, and yet, it isn’t moving at all. I don’t understand this dance, and why it makes me feel like I can’t miss a second of their young lives. Even though I need to. Even though I have to.
There is a post-it note tucked away in my journal. “Courtney, you don’t have to be ever-present.” It was written after another tearful conversation with a friend. A male friend. Casually, he said “I think moms get present and ever-present mixed up. Being a present mother doesn’t mean being an ever-present mother.” The words dropped in my heart like an anchor. I go back to the post-it frequently, a written permission slip to myself to walk away and let boredom set in. Not only for my kids, but for myself, because THIS IS IT. I DON’T HAVE TO BE EVER-PRESENT.
This opportunity to be the mother of three young boys needs to be exactly what motherhood was that day. Each day different, but routinely familiar to the day before. Each day asking for do-overs and high-fives. Each day feeling joy and sadness. Anticipation and boredom. Each day walking away from ever-present parenting, to ever-present awarness of what I need emotionally and physically, so I CAN BE a present parent. What WE need. Each day being what it is, nothing more or less.
I smile thinking of all the days I have had with the boys, and of the ones coming. They catalog themselves in my memory. The memories steady the shaky energy. I know that they are okay, and that I am okay, and that I am actually a really good mom. Even though I am bored today. Even though motherhood seems like busy work. So it will be. So it is. But I still have no idea what to do with the dog.