Friday, November 29, 2013

Thanksgiving, and Little Ones

 "...had he learned nothing from all those years of teaching Hawthorne? Through story after story he'd led his boys to consider the folly of obsession with purity - its roots sunk deep in pride, flowering in condemnation and violence against others and oneself.  For years Arch had traced this vision of the evil done through intolerance of the flawed and ambiguous, but he had not taken the lesson to heart.  He had given up the good in his life, because a fault ran through it." 
- Tobias Wolff, Old School

I can't remember where this picture came from!  I think it was this website or one of their friends

Thanksgiving is one of my very favorite holidays.  It ranks way before my birthday, and just may beat out Christmas considering how much I look forward to it.  There is something about celebrations with food at their center, and communities of people required to properly prepare it, with love and devotion, that really does it for me. 

So I hope that every one has had a great Thanksgiving, even if it didn't follow a proper script. 

Also, there is good news on the Sut Nam front: I'm pregnant! 
This baby, my first, is due in late March.  That means I have a little over four months to keep wondering how life will change before, presto, it changes. For someone who never knew if she would marry, or have children, it all feels a bit like I've won the lottery, complete with people who are now calling me a lot and keeping in good touch.

That will be me, on the left, a mama in the sun with her fine collection of logs and rocks, and new things to care for.

I've become a master of steaming vegetables, and taking vitamins, and odd habits of self-care.  I used to have fantasies of listening to music, writing for hours, and going for long walks.  I now find myself dreaming of free minutes to make a nourishing soup. My focus is changing and while it's exciting, it's also a little disconcerting.  I used to love waking early, over-caffeinating, and then dashing off for a run before work.  Now I'm just grateful when I wake in time to properly wash my hair. 

I've never had luck with long stretches of routine.  Discipline has felt more often like a holy ghost waking me at certain seasons for extra morning work, and other times leaving me to catch up on sleep and remember the animal warmth of my quiet, resting body.

In graduate school I kept a strict writing routine.  I also experienced headaches, back pain, and a depression that may or may not have been related to how hard I was pushing myself to keep up with linear plans.  It wasn't until I embarked on an extended road trip with Tim across the country that I rediscovered my love for writing.  Sleeping in tents, eating on picnic tables, driving with the windows down, sweating through our clothes - something about the primacy of driving and being outside all the time woke me from my fog of sadness. I started to write impulsively whenever I could, several times a day, like jumping into a twinkling lake. 

This is all to say, I haven't found the right balance yet.  Giving all my time to the physical needs of pregnancy felt great at first, but I realized recently that I miss my dives into creativity and, without them, may have been going slowly insane.

I have heard professors advise women to get their careers off the ground before starting a family, and I have heard from plenty of people that there is no perfect time to start one.  I think I fall into the latter category, where it seems to be that life is full a lot of the time, and other times there are luxurious gaps to work on big projects.

I'm at a full point right now, and it's about to hold even more abundance, but I'm grateful to be starting a family at this point in my life.  If I had started earlier, I would have had more physical energy, but so much less of the tenderness I want to bring to motherhood.  In short, while there is certainly no one way to do anything, there may not even be a good way to do some things.  At least, that's kind of how I like thinking about life.

Gas Station Yoga Break, circa 2009
It feels like a conundrum that I have not attained some of my goals and yet, my days are still full of miracles. Maybe, just maybe, everything can be explained by a little advice from Julia Child.

Also, here is Alan Jackson singing about being a work in progress, bringing me to today's koan: If your feelings can't be summed up by a country lyric, are they real feelings at all?

With love,