Groundhog day and the river of time

Hey Four!

It is February now!  The weather is going to feel more like winter in the coming days, especially because the groundhog saw his shadow so six more weeks of winter.  Groundhog day is also your Grandma J and Grandpa M’s engagement anniversary.    I have been feeling simply exhausted these past few days.  I could not get enough sleep.  I think the weekend wore me out and the workload of being pregnant with a 42 year old body takes a lot out of me.  When I got home from work I popped my feet up and wanted to rest.  Your dad has informed me that I should stop watching the news as it stresses me out.  I told him I would be more stressed out not knowing what is happening.  So I am watching the news right now.  I think I felt you move a little but you have been especially quiet.  Maybe that is because I have been especially sleepy.  Your dad is worried that I am not eating healthy enough.  I can try to be better.  There are just some go-to things that seems to work with my touchy tummy better than other things.  Tonight I couldn’t even finish my sloppy joe as it tasted “off” for me.

Ok, phew, I think I feel you maybe rolling or something.  Yesterday I did not feel “right” and I don’t know how else to describe it.  I had sharp pains that felt like they were zaps on top of my hoo-hah.  Then I was short of breath and just uncomfortable.  I had been feeling okay up until Monday, and then this fatigue and sense of ickiness settled in.  I am assuming this is just the new norm for the third trimester.  There is a lot of flu going around too.  I hope that I stay clear of that.  I just have a little tickle cough that gets me when I lay down.  I think that is just our dry indoor air, so I think I am still healthy for now.  I am trying to listen to my body and rest where I can.  I still want to work as much as I can throughout these next two months.

I have been following the April 2017 birth group online and see all of these posts from women who are right around the same development as me.  This is something else that your dad wants me to stop doing.  I see the posts from women who have already delivered and now have tiny preemies in NICU.  There are posts from women who have been put on strict bedrest for weakening cervix issues and preeclampsia.  Then there are the posts about trips to L&D for all kinds strange symptoms and worries.  So, the activity is sure ramping up which gets me a little ramped up.  I get worried about all kinds of things, just like what I read other women are dealing with, and then you kick and I feel a bit more reassured.  We have another appointment next Monday, so maybe there will be some information for me to cling to then.  Monday is when we also start the nighttime childbirth classes.  I hope that I can stay awake through those.

Okay, so after my little update let’s get to a topic.  Today I want to talk about time.  We only have so much time in a day and how you spend it is super important.  There is the obvious time commitment of sleep, which I have gone into detail about as my schedule for that is all over the place.  Sometimes people give up sleep in order to get more done.  For me, I have always struggled with sleep.  Even as a young kiddo, I would lay awake for a long time just staring at things in my room.  My brain has always run at full throttle when I’ve needed it to relax.  I have even had episodes of sleep paralysis, which can be totally frightening.  It is when your physical body is asleep, but your mind is still aware enough to know that it can’t rouse your body.  It is super strange when it happens, but also gives proof to how wound up my noggin‘ usually is.  And with you on my brain, I am in super-thinking mode.  My nightly mug of warm milk seems to help a bit.  I will keep doing that as it gets you some extra calcium, but there is so much irony in how when I have the time allotted to sleep, I can’t, and when I need to have time for normal life I want to sleep.  Your feeding and changing requirements will certainly keep me on that irregular/unpredictable cycle for a while.  I am sure that this current restlessness is just prepping me for that.  Anyway, back to time.

As you grow up the demands on your time change.  At first, you and I will be tied to one another with our time together as I help to nurture you.  Then, as you get into school and activities your time will be a little more gobbled up.  You will want time to play, time to study, time to develop friendships, and time to be bored.  Yes, time that isn’t claimed is good for you too.  There is a study that suggests current parents’ attempts to prevent any moment of boredom in their children’s lives is actually stunting children’s creativity.  So, I will fight against my go-go-go instinct and try to allow you some quiet, down time as that is something that is important to have as a kid.  Maybe you will read a book or create a drawing.  You might even develop an imaginary friend.  Just as long as you have some time to yourself.  When you stop to consider time as an investment, things get even more profound.

You can waste time.  Maybe you watch too much TV or spend hours staring at a video game.  Think of how that time adds up and then consider what else you may have been able to accomplish.  You can never get time back.  Maybe you want to volunteer (which I hope you do), that may be time well spent and often the gift of one’s time is much more impactful than just giving money to a cause.  Maybe you want to visit with your grandparents.  There is something that I wish I had given more time to.  They are people who will love you so much and just the gift of your time with them is so valuable.  Maybe you want to spend time developing a talent.  I spent hours and hours practicing my trumpet.  It paid off with me enjoying some amazing performances.  But the cost of that time I gave to music meant that I didn’t continue to play soccer or play with my little sisters.  Time has a cost.

Think of the start of your life as a completely funded, super wealthy savings account that can never have any deposits added to it.  You don’t know what is in that account, but it seems like a huge fortune.  You can be frivolous with your spending because there is no perceivable end in sight.  The concept of limits hits home at that mid-life point, which is where your dad and I are at.  Now it isn’t just about rolling the odds on remaining time, but also considering the quality of the time we will have left.  There are people like your Grandpa E and Grandma G who are getting the most out of their time in their early 70s.  They are active and enjoy all kinds of fun things together.  They have kept their health and live very vital lives.  Then I see my mom who is so ravaged by medical woes and has had gobs of time claimed by being in a hospital or stuck at home in a limited capacity.  She has time, but not quality time.  That being said, I look at where I am – 42 and just starting a family.  Wow, I had a ton of time to do stuff that other women who entered into motherhood at a younger age didn’t have.  But as such, it is also painfully clear to your dad and me that we will have less time with you as you move into years of your life filled with milestone moments we will be much older to witness.  We will be attempting to retire when you are just starting college, and the scenarios unfold from there.  Our time with you will be so precious.  Your time with your grandparents will be so too.  You need to consider this concept of time because, if you are anything like me, you will want to see everything, do everything, be everything which is an impossible feat when you find yourself aspiring to be limitless in a reality limited by time.  You will have to make choices and sacrifices because you only have so much time.  And, that huge bank account you enjoyed as a kid starts to feel the pinch of those day in and day out choices.  I have always believed that having time to just reflect on the value of time is important.  I used to meditate.  I have not done that as much lately, but I would like to get back into it.  When meditating successfully, time melts away and there is just the moment.  So much of my time I am not in the moment.  I am re-hashing something from the past, or more likely I am worrying about something in the future.  There is a need for me to be able to soak in the moment, but that takes practice.    Even taking the time to write here is my attempt to stay in the moment.

There are a lot of quotes about time being like a river.  The basic gist is that all of these moments in your life are like individual water molecules.  You can put your hand into the flowing river and never touch that same molecule again as it is always flowing past you.  The other part of this concept is that rivers are powerful shaping forces.  Look at the Grand Canyon for proof of that.  A river grows the further it gets from its source.  Having grown up in a town with a river, I witnessed how it can be a powerful force.  It carves curves into the banks where animals may thrive.  Rivers were the life force of early settlements.  A river can flood angrily as fueled by downpours and then it can wither in long stretches of summer heat.  It can sparkle and it can fester.  This beautiful and complex imagery is a perfect reflection on life.  Our lives flow and change and move forward despite obstacles.  To watch the water in a river is to witness the passing of time.  Now you are growing up near another river, even though the DuPage River is quite tiny as compared to my childhood’s Fox River.  Moreover, your dad proposed to me along the Illinois River and our whole western border of this state is defined by the mighty Mississippi River.  Rivers have always been part of my life and maybe they have been silently imparting their wisdom to me all along.  I hope to walk you along rivers where you can start to soak up this energy as well.

Being as how time is always flowing, I need to get on with things.  I am hopeful that you will be ok even though I haven’t felt your activity as much.  Please know how excited we are for you and how much we are trying to get your home ready for you.  Your dad built your crib (attempt #2 as the first one that arrived was broken and had to be sent back).  It looks great.  Then this coming weekend we are picking up your room’s furniture which will allow us to start washing, organizing, and getting all of your gear ready to go.  This is where it will really start to hit home.  We have a series of showers coming up too.  It will be very nice to have the support of gifts to help us prepare for you, but more importantly I am looking forward to celebrating with my friends and family.  Onward!

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