Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Numbers of My Heart

36, 37, 2.5, and 5.

Our ages. A combined number of eighty and a half years on this earth. Two completed childhoods. Two master's degrees. Two careers. Two children.

Two lives just beginning, and yet moving with heartbreaking swiftness.

I close my eyes, and he's resting in my arms, sated and full after a feeding. His eyelids like rice paper, his mouth opened into a rosebud. For hours, we sat together in that glider, and I held him. I whispered my hopes and felt gratitude grow inside me, a new organ pumping humility and awe to each corner of my body.

And then came our second. I couldn't bask in him, as I did his brother. Preferring open spaces and sunlight, he wanted the freedom away from my arms. When he did allow me to smell his little head, it was like eating a truffle, each moment fleeting and delicious.

Now neither is a baby. The oldest is riding the big yellow bus next year, and my baby will start preschool two days a week. They need me less and less for basic functional needs, proving adept at making their own sandwiches and selecting clothes for the day.

It's just the start of their lives, and I feel like mine is shifting yet again. As it should. As magic as those moments were in that glider, my hands did grow numb, and my mind yearned to discuss ideas.

There were many days blurred with the heavy curtain of exhaustion. Many days of tears.

I'm leaving that behind, the sweetness and the drudgery. I am the mother of children, not babies.

As they begin their lives, which are separate from my own, I too, must separate. I must rediscover who else I am.

It began with the travel. It continues with the morning pages and the running. And yet, I long for more.

I return to those numbers, the four frames of my heart home.

37. I strive to read for at least thirty-seven minutes each night. To rediscover the books that challenged me, inspired me, helped me see the world.

36. I will do thirty six push ups or sit ups each day, so I can continue to keep up with the many men in my life, and live as long as I can.

5. I will reach out to five people outside of my family each day. I will pick up the phone, send a card, or meet in person. I will make human connections.

2.5 I will meditate. I will stop, listen, and simply wait for the still, quiet voice of the divine to guide me. For at almost three minutes a day, I will turn off the volume.

These numbers are as part of me as my skin, my hair, my daily breath. Even as circumstances and the numbers themselves change, they still inspire. I lean on them as they lean on me. 


tracy said...

Oh this is beautiful. What a wonderful way to put those meaningful numbers to your life. Just lovely.

Kim said...

I'm so happy for you Nancy that you see the fullness in your life. You are a wonderful writer and I think your writing only gets better. A friend lent me her copy of The Artist's Way and I love the thought of striving to do my morning pages - it's not all that possible yet for me, maybe when the baby is a bit more independent. And yet I mourn for their babyness too - my oldest slowly needs me a little less and although I want him to be prepared for the next phase of his life (junior kindergarten in September!) I hate it.

I can relate to everything here - wanting to write more, read more, be healthy, all of it. Your writing is a gift!

Galit Breen said...

Oh honey! This post gave me chills. CHILLS! It's beautiful and perfect and a reminder of all that is lovely inside the folds of a family, and inside of *you.*

I'll say it again: CHILLS.

Ms. Moon said...

So beautiful. So very, very beautiful.

Mel said...

I like the way you write and the way you think. I smiled to read that your two were as different as mine, one content to cuddle, the other always on the run. Sixteen years later, my runner is my cuddler and my former cuddler cringes when hugged. It's so mysterious and went by so fast that so much of it is a blur. But there are moments, like yours in the glider, that are permanently etched in my memory. I am inspired by your numbers and what you intend to do with them. I'm not sure I could muster 51 pushups, but I'll figure something out. Reading again is the best gift I gave myself when my littlest began school. I forgot how much I loved to read books that weren't about pregnancy or parenting. Happy reading and meditating, and enjoy those fleeting moments with your boys.

So Who Is The Crayon Wrangler? said...

Beautiful post! I am thrilled I stumbled across this and love how you made the numbers "SOMETHING" for you and something that will affect others.

Formerly known as Frau said...

Love this post today!

JDaniel4's Mom said...

I love how you used the ages to make wonderful goals!

K said...

I love the numbers. I love numbers in general, but I love the way you used them.

I'm in a similar boat, but a year behind. My kiddos are nearly 1.5 and almost 4. I wish I could push the pause buttom some days.

Julie said...

This is fantastic (although you now have me contemplating what I'd want to do for 42 minutes each day besides sleep).

I applaud the way you embrace this new, next stage. I have loved every stage of my children's (all too speedy) growth -

You will find so much joy in each of them.

Because you look for it.

tsonodablog said...

Oh Ms. Nancy, what a beautiful mind you have. I love how you express your life and your thoughts. You seem so young to me, yet so very wise. I always expect the amazing from you and you never disappoint.


Cheryl said...

So lovely, Nancy. You have such a way of reminding me of what's truly important.

Also, I miss you!!


Minivan Lover said...

I love- discover who ELSE you are. Awesome :) I hope I continue to be one of the 5 people you reach out on a regular basis.

only a movie said...


From Tracie said...

I love this so very much!!

What a great way to view and live out those important numbers in your life.

Bekah said...

So powerful in its simplicity.

Ms.Wasteland said...

Beautiful. I love how thoughtful you are. Life is a blessing and you are one of those people who understands that.

Ash said...

Like stepping out of a cave and feeling the sunlight once again. Not that life in the cave isn't wonderful, but to feel the sun. I hear you my friend.

And I love how you gave the lowest number to meditation :)

CDG @ Move Over Mary Poppins! said...

Oh, I love this. LOVE!

Especially where you balance sweetness and drudgery, and that as the mother of children, versus babies, that out lives do shift.

So glad I came by.

And thanks for naming Micah!

Coby said...

Just beautiful. I can so relate to turning off the volume. Quieting my soul and my thoughts - even for just a few moments a day - has the power to completely change things (namely, my attitude, or my anxieties)

Jenny said...

Nancy. Please put my name on the list to buy your published work. Your writing is so compelling.