A few weeks after the temporary receptionist at my kids’ school started work, he asked me what I do for a living, and when I told him I’m a lawyer, he nodded knowingly and said he’d figured it was something like that. “I see you every day with that huge car seat, and you’re so tiny” (I’m five feet tall, I get that a lot) “and juggling both kids, and you always look so busy!” I laughed, agreed that it was “a busy season,” and proceeded to wrestle my wiggly anklebiters into their car seats and drive home for another evening of cooking dinner, bribing Peanut to eat, officiating elaborate bedtime rituals, cleaning the kitchen, and crashing on the couch. And thinking longingly of a day when I’m just mildly busy.
My mom has told me that, even as a kid, I was always busy. And I remember that being the case – I’m sure I did utter the words “I’m bored” from time to time (I was a human child, after all) but I honestly don’t recall ever really being bored. There was always something to read, something to do, someplace to explore. These days, I’m still busy, although it’s often the crushing, anxiety-inducing variety of busy and not the bustling, contented form of days past. But one thing I know is – I’ll never be bored. I often find myself daydreaming about all of the things I’d do if I had spare time, and while some might find that depressing, I find it comforting. Years from now, a day will dawn when I’m not overwhelmed and my kids are a little more independent, and while I’ll miss the sweetness and snuggles of their baby years, it helps to know I’ve got a list of things to occupy my time and attention when that day does come. Things like…
- Improve my photography. On the day when I no longer have a baby in a front carrier, I’m going to be really sad, but I will take some consolation in having free hands for my dSLR again, and I’m going to really learn how to use it then.
- Take up birdwatching. I love birds and have for a long time, but haven’t been able to devote the time or energy to learning to identify many of them. And there’s also the baby in front carrier problem (see above) that prevents me from using my camera at all, let alone my zoom lens.
- Decorate my house. I’m assuming that I’ll have one again someday, and maybe the third time will be the charm when it comes to creating a serene haven filled with personal touches, family pictures and memories of our adventures together. I’m a homebody without a home at the moment and I hope to fix that.
- Finally run that marathon. Right now I can’t imagine being separated from Nugget for more than thirty seconds voluntarily, but that might change when he hits the threenager stage, and then those long training runs might be a bit more appealing.
- Go on dates. Steve and I are in a phase of life right now when it’s really hard to get away for dates. We do manage to make it out from time to time, but when we do it’s a really momentous occasion. We’re both low-key types who like hanging out at home, so it’s not like we’re wilting away over here, but it does feel good to get out and about sometimes. At some point, we will work through the guilt around leaving the little ones and find ways to slip out more consistently and spend one on one time with each other.
- Keep my house clean. I am laboring under the delusion that someday I will be able to walk through the living room without tripping over Peanut’s stuffed rabbit or Nugget’s beloved green car.
- Hike more. And in different places. I want to wander through canyons in Zion National Park, climb more Adirondack peaks, and trek the South West Coast Path in England.
- Read books. I know I do that now, but the TBR stack is growing faster than I can scan pages. Maybe one day I’ll finally read Trollope?
- Make stuff. There will come a day when it won’t take me eight months to knit a hat. And I really want to learn how to weave, but when exactly? I’m always looking at looms online, but HA. I miss making stuff with my hands.
- Travel again. I mean really travel, and without worrying about car seats and pack ‘n plays. I love the baby stage – some people are baby people, and I’m one of them – and I can often be heard dreading the day when Peanut won’t want to snuggle in my lap, and Nugget won’t need to hold my hands as he careens around the living room. But one major consolation will be the ability to take them globe-trotting and introduce them to our favorite places. We’re going to poke our heads into every corner of Europe, and we’re going to visit all of the national parks, and we’re going to kayak with orcas off the San Juans, loll on the grass at Green Gables, and spot penguins in Antarctica. Just as soon as they can carry their own backpacks.
I’ve never been bored and I never will be. How can I be, with all of these things to do, someday? I’m storing each and every plan away against the day when I can take it out, dust it off and do something about it. That day isn’t here yet, so for now you can still find me muddling through my days and holding tight to my little guy as I bury my nose in his sweet smelling baby cornsilk hair at night. So when I’m crying about my littlest baby growing up, would you kindly remind me of my to-do list?