This morning I woke up with new energy. I am not sure if it was the restless night or the hour nap I took before pumping and going to bed. Whatever the reason, I just decided to tackle the day head on.
I grabbed my daughter from her crib and enjoyed a few serene moments of mommy bliss as she ate her breakfast. I love morning feeding time. It is literally just me and her. The dogs are still asleep and not hounding me for attention or loving. My husband is snoozing away, although he says he’s wide awake but resting his eyes. Whatever! I am able to look at my daughter and really soak in the cuddles. She looks back at me, grabs my face, makes adorable little sounds, and then without fail a “mama” comes out as she grabs my face. I live for these moments. These are the moments as a mother I will not get back and no one can take from me. They are mine forever.
My heart has become a keepsake box. It holds moments like this for me to remember on those bad days at work. It shows the scars of loss and the hardships that have healed but are still present, and it radiates with love for those in my life. My heart is constantly growing and mending. I often feel like the Grinch, whose heart grew three sizes that day, only mine grows all the time.
I decided to take our dogs out for their morning walk. This is something my husband normally does, but today I felt as if I needed to. I stepped outside and started walking. The air was cold and crisp. You could feel the winter weather still clinging on, but spring was knocking on the door. I looked to the east and saw Venus shining brightly on the horizon. It was just before the dawn. The sky was a vibrant yellow/orange/pink color. It was beautiful as it slowly melted into the blue/black sky in the west. Night was clinging on, trying to keep the world asleep for just a little longer. The birds’ morning songs signaled that the day was starting. As if on cue, the sky turned a majestic red/yellow. The sun had broken over the horizon. The night was slowly giving way to the day. The world was slowly waking up. I stood there, frozen in time. I took in a deep breath and enjoyed the moment.
I forgot about the trials and added stress I am currently facing at my job, the stress of preparing my students for their state test in six weeks, my ten-month-old daughter, and the relationship between my husband and me as we face parenthood together. I was able to realize that nothing mattered in the world expect the two people currently watching Mr. Rogers Neighborhood and eating breakfast together. My job was just a job. A year ago, I was just a teacher. Someone who stayed late and came in early, who took on extra jobs and put my students before anyone else. I had all the time in the world to do what I needed to do for my job. Now, I am a mother first. I feel this has made me a better teacher in some ways but has shifted how I get my work done.
No matter how many times your employer tells you that your family comes first, they are partially lying to you. Your family does come first until it is not convenient to them. You appear weak if you need to run home and see your family. At times, you feel guilty for doing just that. I realized I don’t care. I know my value as a teacher, wife, friend, and mother. I can give nothing more than my best.
Sometimes we need to just stop. Forget about the fact that we are running late, nothing is going our way, the stress just seems to be piling on, and we just want to crawl into a corner and sit alone for five minutes. Do it! Take in your surroundings. Enjoy the moment. Do something for yourself. You cannot be your best if you are not at your best emotionally and mentally. No one can tell you how you should be feeling and navigating life. Be you and the best “you” you can be. Stop and listen to the sunrise.