May 19, 2010

Cloud shapes


Look at that one! It's like a jelly fish--
or a man, floating down in a parachute-- and over there, a mermaid coming out of the sea.

The sky was mostly blue but with just the right amount of scattered, changing clouds, on our way home from the park. Ivy fell asleep, and so we mingled about outside until she woke up. I tossed wayward Cheerios to the ground, for a little finch that skittered beneath the car and then flew away. A beetle passed overhead, he was so big he cast a shadow on the driveway and I thought he was a bird.

My hair has gotten long, falling past my shoulder, down my bare arms. I had taken off my sweater. The sun makes the waves golden-red, and a warm covering in the breeze.

There's nothing to do, but so much to do, today. Any day.

What do you want to do? What do you want for lunch? I need to clean up the dishes. Sweep the floor, vacuum the crumbs, open the windows, shuffle some papers, read you a book, kiss you on the top of your head, put on your favorite song.

I've been thinking about how you can look at someone and say you were made for this. How you might look at me and say I was made to be a stay at home mother. But I have a secret, there are so many more things I would love to be doing. I could be in school, learning. I could be at a job, working. I could be napping. I could be doing something with my life. I could be writing in a cafe in Paris. There are days I could stab forks in my eyes if I have to read that book again. Or listen to that song. Or make one more meal. Or pay attention to the cute things they say. Or pay attention to really anything at all.

I've made a choice. To do this, I step up and suck it up and I just do it

and thankfully

I can't take it back. I couldn't live, there would be no air, if.

The blue sky'ed days serve the reminders on a fancy plate, the fluttering curtain, it clips and curls and it's like someone called Action! and the camera is rolling. I'm on my mark, I belong right where I have placed my feet to-day. I can glance to my right and my left and survey the wonder of this life I live, the breath I breathe in this moment. I can blink and keep it, this is mine.

by myself

And we are all mere cloud shapes, I am made for doing what you choose to see,

I am made for doing what I choose to see.


  1. You have such a way with words. I totally get it. I love being at home with the girls, but I admit that it gets easier when they aren't underfoot all day long. And I couldn't imagine it any other way.


  2. You have one of the most difficult jobs but yet the most rewarding jobs. I'm looking out my office window right now and the cloud I see is shaped like an outstretched arm with a appropriate.

  3. I appreciate this post more than I could ever express.
    Thank you.
    (really, I want to write more, but I can't... it's just too much :) in a good way!)

  4. Beautiful post, I wish I could write like you do!

  5. I come here and I feel grounded and inspired at the same time. This is my favorite post. I love so many of your posts, but this one rose up from my belly and made a lump in my throat and the tears welled up and I just really needed it. Today.

    Love you.

  6. I just posted this on the 'proper disguise' post, but then wasn't sure if you would get it since that one is a bit older. Do you still read comments on old posts? (Still feel very new to the blog world, lol, sorry)

    Where do you even get on of those, lol, its so fun!

    You definitely need to check out this song, it reminds me of the pictures/writing you've shared about your daughter Ivy. :) I think you would like it, so I had to share. Its called "Watermelon Juice" by Lynn O'Brien. You can hear it at if you click 'listen now', or itunes.

    Hope you enjoy it!

  7. I get it. You are doing a great job at this crazy job you have chosen to do.

  8. I just had to pop in and tell you that you were my inspiration yesterday at the grocery store when my toddler and I went down the aisle with all the toys and found a hula hoop for 2.99. I was thinking it would be good exercise to help me get back in shape since I can't run or do anything too major yet until the physical therapist says I'm finally strong enough. What I didn't think about what how it would make my toddler's day - watching his mama try to keep a hoop around her hips for more than five seconds. The giggles and the clapping of pudgy little hands were worth even more than 2.99. So thanks for that idea. Low impact on the body. High impact on fun and relationship.

  9. That was beautiful. First time at your blog. Came over from Heather at the EO. You nailed it exactly. Staying at home means's a privilege and yet in my head I'm complaining about how it sucks sometimes.

  10. well put. it's pretty amazing to be able to stay at home, care, nurture and be with my kids, but some days can be trying and gets me to that i-just-want-to-do-what-i-want-for-once feeling. but that feeling is often fleeting, quickly replaced by a handful of giggles, a little snuggle or a slobbery baby kiss :).

  11. What an amazing post. It captures how we all feel sometimes.

  12. You make me so proud that I too, chose this...the most difficult....most beau.ti.ful job there is.

    Your words mean everything to me.

  13. Beautiful. I work full time, nights, and love what I do. Yet, no job is more fulfilling than my days at home with the kids.

  14. Thank you for this post...I soooo needed to read it this morning! I love my job as a stay at home mom, but like you, there are times (a lot lately!) that I find myself yearning to be somewhere -anywhere- else! Then the guilt sets in...ugh!
    Thank you for setting me free from that guilt this a.m. and reminding me I am not alone and that we are all only human. :)
    p.s. I heart your blog!

  15. It's of course hard for me to not be insanely jealous while reading this, because I wish that I could have this choice. BUT when I say jealous, I mean... in a good way, because you embrace the fact that you're given this choice, that you're lucky enough to have this choice. I know you might not feel like you were made for it, but you were.

  16. your last night - "I am made for doing what I see" has been rolling around in my heart since I read it yesterday. It's sobering and convicting and yet liberating. My youngest is about the age of your Ivy (I only have two to your four) and my oldest is about the age of your Grey. I see much of this in myself and grapple with it, sometimes more than others. All tha to say - thank you.

  17. simply moving. simply. moving.

  18. I started a post just like this and I have yet to finish it. I sounded too complainy, too something, too ugh.

    (Not that you do, you sound honest.)

    I want to do so much more too, but for now, I do enough.

  19. I appreciate this distinction. These roles are often so transitory--stay at home a year or 5, work at home some, work outside the home before, again--but in the moment they feel like this huge IDENTITY.

  20. One of things I did with Terry was to tape record myself reading his favorite books. Then he could play the tape and look at the book anytime and it was still my voice he heard. He loved it.

  21. Steph, this brought tears to my eyes. You very beautifully put words to the tension that a lot of us feel inside but don't know what to do with. thanks for writing it.

  22. This is phenomenal, Steph. Really.

  23. You are so good at putting what everyone feels into such beautiful words. I feel the same way sometimes. Pre-baby, I thought I was SO SMART by working part-time, but there are moments at home where I think "Why can't I be at work?" and then the minute I'm at work, I'm missing my son like crazy. And then there are times at home where I think, "I NEVER want to work again!"

    Thank you for not being afraid to put your inner-most feelings out into the world.

  24. Steph, I am awed by this post. I am reading it from my office because I did not make the same choice you did. My path is the same mix of relief in regret - in a mirror image, I suppose. "I am made for doing what I choose to see." Beautiful.

  25. Beautiful! I LOVE your writing... :)

  26. Amen! It's all about perspective...and choices we make right with our minds and our hearts.

    Being a mom is such a roller coaster, but the joys and the moments of finding real meaning make up for the many moments of stress, guilt, and even the loss of self.

    Breathing it all in with ya, Steph. Enjoy!

  27. Yes, yes, yes yes yes yes yes.

    Just beautiful, as always, Steph. You sum up motherhood so well...the constant conflict between "what else I could be doing" and "how could I imagine doing anything else?"

  28. Ah, yes. The perpetual conflict of motherhood.

    There are so many things "I could be..." doing. But I only have one life to live and I'm choosing to live it in the best way I know with my family.


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