It was early June when we got a call from my husband’s company that he’ll be deployed in another country in September. Ready for a new adventure, we got rid of our house stuff, said the necessary goodbye’s to the school I worked in and to our friends.
September came- two days before my husband’s scheduled flight (ours was the next day), his boss said to wait out a few more weeks.
We parted ways. My little J and I stayed with my family after being away for over 8 years, visiting home only 2 weeks yearly. Weeks turned to months until it was nearing the end of 2016 and still, the papers for my husband’s new job were not out. He stayed in Thailand.
My family reveled in my baby’s presence. I was happy, but my uncertainties were bigger; my anxiety was eating me up. The schedule-less-ness toasted my brain and the way I ran my days. I’d tire myself cleaning the entire house in the morning and all over again at night, so I can pass out of exhaustion. I was there with my boy, providing his needs, but not fully, happily present. My thoughts always drifted somewhere else, missing my husband and my career. I racked myself to come up with something, anything to keep our lives as normal.
I’d read self- help articles, positive mind-setting videos, and would say, “That’s not me; they’re in different circumstances, living different lives.” And then I joined a business, which I had spent five years saying ‘No’ to. My mentors were mostly online but I opened myself little by little, started seeing structure in my days. The thing that struck me was the realization that I’m letting myself be pulled in a hundred different directions instead of making a choice and working on what I wanted. I learned there are two kinds of people- the people who dissent and the people who bless. And because I blamed motherhood so much, I turned blind to my blessings.
My husband tried to keep me strong throughout. He reminded me of the times when he thought he was cornered and up against the wall, and then that wall suddenly opens. That wall is a door after all, waiting to swing open at the perfect time. He fled his country having nothing, just a few hands to lead him. And in those moments, he trusted in God’s faithfulness, and he’s asking me to do the same.
My thanklessness and my excuses put me to shame. Now’s a good time to cherish what I have presently- every minute spent with my little one, precious moments with my family, the powerful, nurturing love of a husband, and everything else that I have.
How could I not revel in this? The magnitude of motherhood is too grand that no one can understand unless they go through it. Sure, I won’t get to buy what I want or buy those expensive toys for my boy, or travel and discover places, or have my weekly morning coffee in some quiet cafe. I stopped thinking I was the left- behind mom, instead, I claimed to be the happy and present mom- a mom who embraces changes no matter how unthinkable, unexpected.
I took part in this wondrous miracle- I gave life, and in turn, my boy gave me all the reasons to live.
In the schedule-less-ness, I found opportunities to turn into beautiful memories- of us wasting away the time, messing the rooms, learning in the most unconventional ways.
In the tantrums, I found a frustrated little boy with not enough words, and who’d settle if you hold him long and tight enough.
In the quiet of most nights, I’d look at my boy and see that dependent, fearless, spirited little giant.
In all the exhaustion, I found joy.