relax: I don’t do it

Somehow, I have forgotten what it is to relax. I remember days when I used to spend hours piecing together a puzzle while singing at the top of my lungs. I remember long bubble baths and reading more than a page in one sitting. I remember it, but I just don’t do it anymore. My body and mind are constantly engaged in “go,” with no red lights in sight.

I work twenty hours a week at the coffee shop and all hours that are not spent there are spent parenting my two children. That means shuttling them from one field trip to another; it means grocery shopping and cooking and cleaning this house. Then I try to work out. I’m training for a marathon, first of all. But also, my sister and I have agreed to run 2016 miles in 2016 between the two of us – so I must log at least 85 miles a month. And then, I’m trying to finish writing this book I started in 2014.

That means there are very few moments in my life when I am not working, breaking up wrestling fights gone too far, doing chores, working out, writing, or sleeping. Now my body is paying the price for it. Monday I woke up with a sore throat and phlegm, but I powered through. I took the boys on a long walk in nearly freezing temperatures which I somehow thought was warm enough (I’ve been cooped up too long in the Nebraska winter here). I grocery shopped and cleaned. I made dinner. Then I went to bed before Brandon.

But I picked up two extra shifts at the coffee shop this week, instead of resting. So now six days this week I am awake at 5 a.m. And when I’m at home, I am doing a massive project: preparing for the garage sale every family has at some point in their lives: the one where you get rid of all the baby clothes and gear so you can finally end the conversation on whether or not there will be more babies. There will not. No one is buying all that shit we already had again. Reason one million that another baby doesn’t make practical sense. 

I tried to run this afternoon, but my body just didn’t feel up to it. So I searched for a long-lost library book instead, which we found and returned to the library. And on the way home, the boys fell asleep in the car. I thought about what I could do if I could transfer them successfully, and of course I thought of all the chores my house needed to have done to it. I transferred Holden into his crib: success! Brandon is a bit trickier. I brought him upstairs and laid him on his bed. His eyes fluttered open and right when I was about to creep out of his room, he said, “mama, stay.” So like an obedient dog, I did.

I fell asleep next to him and woke up no more than 15 minutes later, drooling and delirious with joy from the stolen moments I had taken for myself. I need a few more of those. I need to relearn how to relax. Is there a such thing for mothers of two young boys?

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