Saturday, February 6

Hedgehog Interrupted

Do the books you read impact your moods and sleep habits? For me, Yes.

I took the chance to finish my book this morning rather than sleep in while the kids did their own things. I had four pages left when the kids converged on my hiding place. I made promises and shooed them away. They were back with only two paragraphs to go. I shooed them away one last time, happy to be their mother and to nurture them in three minutes if they'd just let me be. And they did. Because of the book, I was actually happy to resume mothering, crushing them with hugs and kisses. Then I spent a few hours reflecting on the book's message while being subjected to all manner of interruptions. Because that is family life and I'm blessed it is mine.

On Wednesday, I was ready to put this book down forever. I was fed up with the characters but had heard it took a while to get into and to be patient because it was worth it. Boy could that statement apply to my life sometimes. Yours? I had even called two friends also reading it for book club to ask when it would turn around! Again, applied to my life, I have great friends I regularly use as life lines!

Luckily, I was able to pick up the audio book version at the library that day and I agree that it made all the difference! Because this book was translated from French, it was so nice to hear all the beautiful names and French words properly pronounced!

In the end, trudging through definitely was worth it! I really enjoyed Barbery's writing style with many quotable passages and some that made me laugh out loud. I literally cried at one point with Morgan practically sitting on my head sucking on her blanket patting my cheeks. I'll do whatever it takes to read in peace around here! I did get bogged down now and then with Barbery's musings on philosophy and there's some on art, literature and music too so be forewarned if that's not your cup of tea. In the end, however, I really enjoyed most of those musings because of previous exposure. I found a common thread with this book among other recent faves -- stories of personal awakenings filling their lives with overarching purpose whether or not they ascribe to any religious beliefs. Three Cups of Tea, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, The Necklace, Born to Run, and Little Dorrit.

Today, like many days I've felt like renaming the blog to something that reflected my inability to finish a thought or task because of interruptions. I appreciated the short chapters/journal entries of this book. It fit nicely into my life which is nothing if not constant interruptions.

For example . . .

For two hours today I walked in and out of the kitchen many times with the express purpose of grabbing a rag or paper towels to clean up some spilled milk on the table from McKay helping himself to breakfast. It seemed that every time I turned around, Morgan had bit off more than she could chew-literally-and is learning this week how to put things she spits out in the trash with consistent, direct kind prodding. Life is positively ridiculous sometimes at this stage with someone or something needing me at every turn. This morning I rolled with it. [This afternoon, I admit I rolled less smoothly and was a bit willful.]

And then there's how the interruptions of my profession affect my relationships. From the moment Ryan got home last night, each conversation we've attempted to have has never gotten past the first acknowledgements of starting a conversation. Frustrating, tedious, and humorous all at the same time because while sharing my thoughts or family business would have been nice, it was even more enjoyable for us both to realize and share a look that said the contented loud playing or needs of our children should take precedence in those very moments. Applying this book to my role as a mother got me thinking about how foundational I am in my kids' lives so they do not become like the walking wounded - Palombe, Renee, and numerous real people I've known in my life. Thank you, Ryan, for being my rock and personal ipod technician.

I've lately said that I feel like a pretty capable mother until I venture into public with my children. For some odd reason, there were two instances this week when I had to pat myself on the back when handling my kids' interruptions in public, being the mother I want to be.

In the grocery store. We've all had it happen to us there! It was past lunch time/nap time and McKay lost it. Threw himself on the ground and tossed his boots a yard away in front of the pastry and deli windows with a good sized crowd to see his performance. I didn't even flinch and let him scream it out while I finished what I needed to do there. I got some real glares and a couple comments even. When it was time to move on, I got down and helped him up, chatted and smoothed it over and we were on our way. He just felt he wasn't being seen or heard, ya know?

Then for the past three weeks we've enjoyed having a couple of Ryan's coworkers come over to play board games each Wednesday. I feed the kids before they come over and then start a movie for them until bedtime. This week the kids were more needy and vocal than the previous two weeks. We were learning a new game [Puerto Rico] which made the interruptions more noticeable. Both of the coworkers are married guys without children, one's wife is in Iraq and the other loves having a new "game group." The second friend has jovially made it quite clear he's never wanted to have kids which seems to be reinforced for him each time he visits our house for game night. Ha! Amid his comments and the kids acting out at bedtime, I wasn't and still am not even offended, it's not a reflection on my kids. I recognize it's his choice and I've chosen differently. It's that simple. Guess that makes me all growed up for real now!

This is my life and I love it! I have chosen it. I have a husband who loves me and we've been blessed with children. These people in my life are the greatest and hardest things I've ever done. I'm grateful for books that help me look at my life, find joy, and open me to new things! My marketability in the world's workforce may be suffering, but I know I'm in the right place at the right time doing what matters most. I just need reminders at about 1, 5 and 7pm each day when I run out of steam!