Crunch. Crunch. Crunch.
I trudge through the snow pushing the double stroller back home from the library. The kids, bundled up in various assortments of coats, hats, and blankets, point out objects of entertainment.
“A red truck, Mommy!” squeals a delighted Emily.
“Dada, Mama, Jump!” adds Andrew.
We breathe in the delightful scents of leaves fallen off trees, the pine cones of Evergreens, and the fresh scent of fallen snow (that is to say the air is free of smoggy residue and, therefore, scentless). The noise of passing cars is barely noticeable as I push the stroller through serene neighborhoods.
While I engage the kids with multifarious questions, I ponder my current situation. My habit to load up the stroller when I feel my mental capacities buckling under the overwhelming (or so my mind thinks) pressures; my tendency to lose my head when a child wakes up early from a nap (or refuses to take one) or busies herself in naughty behaviours; and my inability to confront certain places (ahem, internet) without feeling fear, with a dash of dread and a heavy side of guilt, because I am convinced of my personal inadequacies and failures.
My intense desires to be at home with my children and provide a loving, safe, and education-rich environment juxtapose with my acute longing to run away–whether to the workplace, school, or another state–from the battles being fought inside my head supposedly because of my occupation as a stay-at-home mom.
Rather than hide from these devilish thoughts, I tenuously chose to accost my enemy this last week as a knight would duel his foe. I stayed away from friends–on-line and in real life–because I knew this fight would need my full strength.
At this point it would be natural to interpose “and in the end,” except that an ending doesn’t exist. With this war, the battles are waged daily–some I win, some I lose. However, I am emerging as victor more often than as conquered.
Crunch. Crunch. Crunch.
The birds chirp, the leaves stir, and the kids continue with their endless chatter. I open my eyes a little wider and notice the contrast between this day and the last: the pressure in my chest has lifted and I feel as light as the wind. And though it is cold outside, I feel the warmth of this knowledge spreading through my limbs and the beginnings of a bounce to my step.
With guarded optimism, I embrace the changes and look forward to days filled with more hope and less fear.