Sometimes I wonder if I can keep doing this, being a full-time mom. It can be so tiring, emotionally draining, without much space to reenergize. Sometimes I wonder if this is how I want to spend my life, wonder what kind of life I would want to have instead. But then I remember that this isn't my whole life--just this stretch of time. My role as a mom is going to change as the kids grow; the amount of time I have to myself is going to increase, as well as my personal space. Eventually.
Today I got both kids down for naps and my aunt said she'd stay in the house with them while they slept. So I put on my bathing suit and rode my bike to the beach and swam with M, no kids to watch. It was heavenly. Riding a bike feels like ultimate freedom right now because there's no space on it for anyone but myself. I went again later, initially to tell my cousins when dinner is, but then I rode on by myself for awhile.
On the beach folks sit in circles, their chairs all facing in, telling stories. The sun is dim, thin clouds a gauzy screen as I ride on the packed sand by the shore. A dad picks up a toddler and swings him overhead. I can't hear anything but ocean and wind; it's like watching those old home movies, everything more picturesque without the minutiae of sound. I think that this man's life will change too--his kids will get older at the same pace as mine. We will have adolescents, teenagers. I believe people when they tell me it happens all too quickly. But today there are four children under four in our beach house. Next year there may be five; the year after, six. It's loud, it's busy. It's tiring and charming and tonight my cousin Danny recorded a video of Frances and Henry playing ring around the rosy together, Frances holding Henry's hands and gazing with awe up into his 3-year-old face as he chanted the rhyme. They were pure loveliness.