There’s nothing that feels quite so unnatural as pushing an empty stroller around. Two days a week I am delivering each child to a different location, then pushing my light unoccupied child receptacle back home. I remember seeing other parents returning from their respective drop offs and seeing their empty seats. How odd it seemed. How did they manage it? It seemed so far away from me. And yet here I am.
In September, Finn started 3 mornings of nursery school without a hitch. I knew from my experience with his big sister that the mornings would fly by for him and me, but they still opened a door. A door to that independence we both needed. A door back to myself, separate from my children. My child, separate from me. They say it flies by and it does, but it had also been two-and-a-half years since I’d had that kind of regular, predictable space. It was time. And his ease with the transition was a helpful reinforcement.
There was even the tiniest little thought that a full day or two would be even better. It would give me the flexibility to write and create and put that love back into myself in a deeper way than I have been able to since becoming a mother. And he never wanted to leave when I arrived to get him anyway.
A friend whose son was also starting the program and who had a fresh baby too, mentioned she felt the same. Now this nursery school only has morning spots or full time spots, as in five full days. There is a long wait list too because the price is right and it has a great staff. I remembered another parent had split a full time spot when Leni was going there a few years back. There were ways around it, in other words. Even with great pricing though, it was a stretch to do 3 mornings and I wasn’t exactly sure if we could swing a higher monthly bill. That niggling doubt kept me from pursuing it much further. Thankfully my friend took the lead. You know what happened then? Within days a spot suddenly opened up. Now she and I are splitting that full time spot and the cost fit right where I needed it to. Maybe just on the edge. But I decided to trust that it would all be ok. And I’ve been rewarded for it in just the few weeks since it started. Thank you, Universe.
Something I hadn’t factored in was the time I’d get with Leni. Now two days a week I pick her up before Finn and we get some one-on-one time that has been extremely hard to come by. I have struggled to carve it out and it feels long overdue, but I feel very grateful to have it now. I’m not sure it’s totally registered for her, but being able to focus solely on her like that is so nourishing for this mama. I figure if it feels like that for me, it’ll seep into her by osmosis. She also loves dropping him off and picking him up with me, it just so happens. She is clearly comforted by the nursery room space. I think a part of her remembers it even though she’s not conscious of it. They let her do a craft or play before we say goodbye and it seems to just hit the spot for her before school. Finn proudly takes her around the space too. It’s so reassuring to feel like we’re all getting something we need from these two full days.
There were many times I yearned for this kind of space for myself, but I realize now that I resisted it too. There was a constant push and pull. Wanting to hold on tight and imagining a freedom I didn’t think possible for me again. As much as I could’ve used a little more balance at times, it feels like the exact right time right now. I am in a place where I feel ready to receive it. Being able to pay for it with the small amount of money I bring in feels good. Being in the midst of a writing project that needs my time and deeply called to some other creative outlets, this time feels essential. There’s no guilt associated with it. We are all exactly where we are meant to be right at this moment in time.
Today I’m taking this time to write to you. The rain is whipping against my front window. I have candles glittering beside me. Nils Frahm is creating a surreal and serene atmosphere from my Google Home. I have a weaving project I’m itching to get back to sitting on my desk, waiting for me. There’s some room temperature coffee I keep sipping anyway because I didn’t want to stop writing (not for child related reasons). My dog is happily passed out on the couch after a walk post-drop off.
I’m still unpacking, uncovering, revealing and learning as I go. The more I do, the easier it is to honour the person I find there. To receive the help I need and to do it with my eyes and heart wide open. I am more than enough for my family, for myself, for the people I love.
On the days that I struggle to see that truth, I find it easier to trust that I’m exactly where I need to be. There are clues and opportunities everywhere. Lately I’ve been seeing and hearing them more clearly. I find the more clarity I have about what I want and need, the easier it is to see the universe raising the floor to meet me.
As I push that empty stroller back to my empty house, I feel full.