I am at the YMCA and I am using the child watch shamelessly because we pay for it and even though I have no intention of exercising today (ha! it’s sweet that you thought that, though) I am going to use my two hours for something good.
I have lots of deep thoughts to write about, lots of drafts I could go back to, lots of things I want to chew on, words as teeth, keystrokes like jaw bones, but first this. First, I’m going to soak up this moment alone in an uncomfortable chair by the window drinking coffee I didn’t make next to a perfectly unassuming purse which nobody knows contains diapers and wipes and not a few pieces of toddler trash.
I could be anyone.
I could be a college student plugging away on a term paper, too stressed to wear jewelry, but not for blush because college girls like me only want to seem like we don’t care.
I could be on my lunch break from the office downtown. I’m in jeans because it’s hip like Amazon or Google and I just need to finish this e-mail before I throw away my sandwich scraps and head back into work.
I could own a small business, busily typing up an invoice, hoping to get paid before I have to make that order of monogrammed napkins.
But the child watch gives you this little silver tag you hook onto your person so that if your child is, say, throwing toys at babies, they will come find you and shame you into leaving the locker room with wet hair to remove the little terror you irresponsibly released into society. So I have a tell: I am here with kids. I am a mere 30 feet away from the three little people whose lives take up just about all of mine.
Because I choose them and choosing them means I have to un-choose other things. Choosing them means that mornings rarely start off quietly, that my home is not always a place where I can rest, that sometimes I have to tell my spirit “not now” when she gets excited. Choosing them means I miss ideas as they race by, I can’t always oblige experiences when they present themselves, I have to say no to things I deeply want to say yes to. It means I don’t have a degree and I am not ordering napkins.
I choose them for good reason. They are marvelous and brilliant and they teach me all the things and they are sacred in a way I used to be. So I am grateful I get to be here, get to own the hand they grab when they want to share their world and the lap they curl into when they need to be small. I am so grateful to be the person who sees them and gets to be in on the secret of how good they are for the world.
They are worth whatever I don’t get now, I am sure of it – there is little I am more sure about. These incredible people can do nothing which would cause me to regret my choice. They have already given me more than I could ever give them. It’s just the reality that some things are sacrificed – no matter what you choose, you un-choose something else.
The challenge of being a parent is that, completely contrary to how it feels, it is not a permanent position. That it truly is a part of my identity that I choose to be their Momma, but also that my children need me to choose other things, too. They need to see how to human and they won’t if I am only human-ing as a Mother. They are learning from me how to do life and you can’t Mother life, you can only You life. I can only Krysann life. I get one shot (and I won’t waste it by fretting over how corny it sounds to type sentences like the previous). So I put them in child watch, get my silver tag, and create. Or read. Or listen to podcasts. Or eat a sandwich without having to share. I do what I need to do for this life to be mine.
I am here to remember that I could be anyone, but I choose to be their Mom and his wife and a person who does not work for Google. And I choose two hours at the Y without breaking a sweat.