I will never look back on this time and regret it. I won’t regret how much togetherness there was, how close we all were, how day upon day was spent in a fivesome. Long from now, which won’t feel long I know, when I look back at this weird time when the world tipped sideways and I was thrown off kilter, feeling a level of anxiety and uncertainty before unknown to me, I will also look at what made all of it alright. What mattered most.
I won’t regret letting Gracie and Lily sleep in our bed those first few weeks of March and into April. Gracie especially was feeling completely off kilter too and her anchor was us, her safety, her security was in us. Restless nights for me with too many bodies, a King sized bed feeling much too small, a kick in the ribs, hands flung over my face. Frustrated by the lack of sleep and yet comforted knowing we were all okay. Still many nights now one or two children sneaking in and snuggling up close, needing a bit more reassurance.
I won’t regret the messes we’ve made baking bread together or cooking soup or icing the sugar cookies Gracie woke up at 6am to make. I won’t regret eating a bit more sugar than normal or using the last of the milk for that uneaten bowl of cereal. Taking the time to sit with the girls while they chop vegetables, with such caution and care, cutting the carrots into the tiniest pieces, I’ll never wish I didn’t do that. Ordering triple the amount of groceries so we could try something new, or have a family picnic or share food with friends, those will always be fond memories, I won’t wring my hands looking at the charge on my credit card.
I won’t regret that we chose nature over school-from-home each and every time. With a robust weekly curriculum feeling like more of an expectation than a suggestion I let go of feeling like somehow this was my job to create school at home. It wasn’t. Gracie shouted at me “you’re not my teacher!” and that was the not-so-subtle reminder I needed that indeed, you’re fucking right I’m not. Nor did I want to be. I won’t regret that we ditched practicing the twelve times table or singing songs to watch as Edie learned to crawl, or went for a long windy walk at the park even as the snow stretched into May (remember how cold it was and now how hot it is?). I won’t regret that we chose the beach or a playdate with a friend over a Zoom call, I’ll know we all felt more connected than most did during this time and will feel grateful for choosing that path.
I won’t regret watching more movies. Sitting down snuggled on the couch, fashioning a ‘bobsled’, a tangle of legs, all tucked into one another so we could get the best vantage point for the show in our small living room. Making popcorn drenched in butter and flavoured with curry powder, turmeric, parmesan, and nutritional yeast, I won’t bemoan the yellow stains that showed up here and there. On a rainy day, or a broiling hot afternoon, I won’t wish I had the time back to do something else.
I won’t regret the nights I stayed up a bit too late. Where I shirked my ‘duties’ in work or in creation or in cleaning the house to just sit down and be. Nights on the couch with Steve, opting for another episode of Modern Family instead of talking about all of the important looming decisions – bills, school in the fall, where to freaking move. In silent togetherness, ease in each other’s company, a rare moment when a child wasn’t demanding us. Sitting out back for a moment to catch the breeze or see the stars before being driven in by mosquitoes. Finally getting the time to share our outrage about the state of the world, our fears for what this means for our children, our despair over not feeling in control…and then letting the anger burst like a red balloon and getting back to yet another episode of Modern Family, fully allowing for the distraction.
I won’t regret shifting my focus. Letting go of what I thought was meant to happen; hiring a nanny and working more, directing my energy on writing and coaching and building my wellness business in a new way. All of the energy and desire I had seeped out of me in one slow yawn. Months of planning and building ground to a halt and though I will honour my sadness and confusion about that time I will also have the perspective of purpose behind it. I thought my calling this year was to grow into the next phase of entrepreneurship but the universe/god/source/my higher self had a different plan and it was futile to fight it. I lost a lot; I left people and plans behind, there was no explanation to give because I didn’t have the words to speak it. Some will be rebuilt and some will be forever lost but I will be at peace with it all, in time. I learned that productivity has a flow to it and doesn’t always mean the same thing. I won’t regret allowing my homelife to be the primary focus, to be productive AF in domesticity, I won’t feel badly that my business took a backseat to what mattered most.
Ever-flowing and changing time, ebbs and flows as do the seasons, as do the needs of my family and of myself. Awakening to the gift of slowness and ease, the path of least effort, dropping expectations like a bad habit. Compassion for myself, for feeling such deep sadness at what I lost, for making more actual bread than money, for letting others down, for not saying what I should of, for saying too much at times. Finding new wells of patience and trust as each plan I made seemed to break away like a web in a strong breeze, sitting with how uncomfortable all of it was. Creating a daily rhythm that brought more joy and ease and less struggle, less worry.
I write this for myself as much as you. To fortify my resolve when I’m not so kind with my thoughts or my words, when the magic of the moment doesn’t materialize, when all I see is grabby kids and a small messy house. Last week I talked about consciously creating our world and here’s what’s actually true; we’re already doing that each and every day. We always have, we always will be. Each moment holds a choice and each choice makes a day that makes a life. We have limitless choice, it may not feel that way, but we do. In our thoughts, in our perspective, in our words, in our reactions, we are choosing each one. My days are full of zigs and zags of challenge and bursts of joy. I don’t always choose the path of least resistance, I often make things harder than they need to be. But I’m committed to learning and getting better with my choices, I’ll never regret the work it takes.