Although there is no snow, everything is gilded with ice. The frozen ground crunches under foot and the tree tops are frosted white.
I took my camera on a walk along my favorite new forest path, which leads to a grassy open area, all the shades of camel, sand, chestnut, and pale wheat. It is so beautiful there right now. Tranquil, completely silent except for the chirping of birds who swoop from branch to blackberry cane. The mist is so heavy that it is hard to tell where the trees end and the sky begins. I couldn't stop taking photographs.
I wanted to tell you about the combination of things which have made daily living in it's current state a bit difficult: since winter is here, and it is bitterly cold, Rafael doesn't want to stay in the forest very long in the mornings. He also has stopped taking naps at midday. And he also has found it hard lately to play on his own, which he used to do for long periods of time. This means that we have a ton of time indoors where he is dissatisfied. His friends are all in daycare or kindergarten, and he is starting to get antsy and bored with me as a play mate. I am really beginning to realize how unnatural it is for a child and a mother to be alone for such long periods of time. I don't think it is good for him, or for me. He needs the company of other children. And I need to talk about something other than firemen, and need to do something other than desperately try to come up with something to keep my son busy and happy.
My husband's work year has come to a close and it has been refreshing to have more time for myself while he goes on little day trips to the zoo or museums with Rafael. While they strengthen their bond, I am quieting down and getting to know myself as a whole person, aside from my role as a mother. These quiet hours to myself, either at home or in the woods, give me the possibility to reflect on what I want. What is working in my life, and what could use improvement. Which areas need a little fixing, and which areas need a big renovation.
Questions I am asking myself lately: When this new year begins, what do I want to change about our daily rhythm? Should Rafael spend more time with other children in a childcare setting? Would it be better for him, and for myself, to have some space, and to have experiences with other children and people? Am I holding him back by keeping him at home? Or am I pushing him to early if I send him to daycare or kindergarten? If Rafael starts going to kindergarten or daycare a few mornings a week, how am I going to use my time alone? Should I do something creative? Something that earns money? Something creative that earns money would be great...but is that realistic? Should I instead use the time alone to get housework done so I can focus on Raffi when he's home? Or....should he stay home longer, as originally planned, and I just need to structure our at-home time better, and begin teaching him things at home myself? Will staying home make me bitter? Or do I just need a different approach?
I still have not found the answers to these questions. I am hoping things will evolve and form naturally, that answers will present themselves, that things will flow easily and I will make changes and decisions lovingly and with a happy heart.
What I know for sure is that I must make some changes.
I feel pressure, in the time I have to myself, to be especially productive; to do or make something creative. I ask myself: is there really room, time, space, for me to just be for a little bit? Can I allow myself that? Today I finally let myself sit in bed for a while, looking out the window at bare branches and sky, even dozing off. I am so used to functioning day in and day out, and using every spare minute productively. After all, friends and family ask: "So, what did you do with your free time?" I always feel like I should have these great things to report.
Just being along, doing nothing for a little while, felt like the biggest luxury imaginable.