I spent the day in bed, trying to recover from a cold. It didn't really work. BUT, I enjoyed some good sleep and had a lovely walk home with Alice. We spent a few minutes in the park, playing with the leaves and grass and sticks. She was quite a happy camper!
Everywhere I look in this apartment there are chores to be done. The plants need watering. The trash & recycling need to be taken out. Clothes need to be washed and folded and put away. We need to hang pictures on walls and vacuum floors. We need to dust and mop and clean out the fridge.
But who has the energy for that?!?! I think I'll curl up with my book instead...
Michael, Alice & I spent the past weekend upstate, soaking up sunshine and fall foliage with my mom, my godmother, and our great friends, John, Anna & Naomi. It was an absolutely wonderful weekend - blissful, in fact - and I will write more about that soon.
But tonight, I want to put down some of the thoughts that have been rumbling through my head this weekend, while we were away from the City and in some quieter space. I've been thinking a lot about identity. There are few times in a person's life, I think, where your conception of who you are - the ways in which you define yourself - undergo fundamental change. When I think about my life to date, my identity shifted after a few key events: a scary, life-threatening bout with pericarditis when I was 10, a standing ovation from peers on the crew team when graduating high school at 18, a 3-month breakup with Michael when I moved to New York at 23, our marriage at 26, and now motherhood and the birth of Alice at 30. Certainly, other experiences shaped my vision of myself and either contributed to or challenged my perception of myself. But these are the events that really changed my core vision of who I am.
I think I'm just starting to see how my identity has changed since Alice arrived. It's a hard part about motherhood, I think - finding yourself knowledgeable about things you once could care less about while also letting go of some things you used to spend much of your life doing (what a muddled sentence that was...). I'm trying to sort through the parts of life I'm willing to sacrifice for the greater good of my new self and - more challenging, I think - to identify the roles that are so fundamental to who I am that I simply cannot let go of them, regardless of the time and dedication they require.
Several years ago, I talked to Michael's close friend James about the core activities you need to do wherever you are to feel content with life. At the time, I needed to find time to sit quietly and read, generally in a coffee shop or park. I needed to workout. I needed to have some peaceful time drinking tea. And I needed to take active care of my husband.
Now, in my post-Alice life, are these things still true? What activities are so fundamental to who I am as a woman, a professional, a wife, a mother that I need to find time to do them, even if it takes me away from my family for a bit every day? How do I define myself now that Alice is here?
Who am I now? And how must I spend my time in order to be that woman?
I'm trying to stay upbeat. We had a lovely weekend, celebrating Alice's baptism with friends and family (details and a blog to follow... eventually). We had quality time with siblings, parents, grandparents, friends. The Redskins won. Alice ate solid foods for the first time.
But it's a cold, wet, dark Monday morning. The week promises to be another hectic one. And I still don't feel like I've had enough time with Alice or Michael.
"But when she stepped off the train in New York, her plain little face looked beautiful for a moment, as if the future were opening before her and its glow were already upon her forehead, as if she were eager and proud and ready to meet it..."