… Sort of.
Classes at my university started last week. We had friends from school over for dinner on Thursday and they asked how I was feeling at the beginning of the semester. They recalled the anxiety I had about staying home and the grief I anticipated. I shared that I was fine and that I couldn’t imagine having started class last week, that I had totally made the right call. It is true. I have been totally in baby mode for the past oh… she’s five weeks old now and I was for two weeks before she came… seven weeks… and I am nearly ready to transition to some sort of balance, but at the beginning of last week- in the midst of her fourth week- nope… we still had a nursery to make functional and other homemaking to attend to and well… the last place I wanted to be was class.
That said, I am registered for research hours this semester and I have some pretty big goals for myself. They are:
1) Arrive at proficiency in German reading so that I can pass an exam later in the Spring. I have a total of four weeks, yes WEEKS, of German study in my background so this is no small goal.
2) Complete a guided reading of a manuscript being written by one of my professors and of one primary source (Tertullian) behind this manuscript. Originally this was a summer plan, but two other students got interested so it was bumped to spring. We’ll start meeting together once a week in February. I love this prof and enjoy the two students so… it should be a good thing.
3) Begin to chip away at the massive bibliography I am supposed to read through before my qualifying exams in my third year. This thing is 10 single spaced pages, friends. Normally one spends one’s third year in this program preparing for and taking exams, but as I will still need to take courses then, I’m going to have to spread out my preparing. And now is the time to begin.
Phew. That is a lot. On Saturday morning I woke up realizing that the only way I was going to accomplish any of this was if I managed to do two things. 1) Maintain some order in the house. 2) Carve out some sort of daily schedule and routine for myself.
So Saturday, in between feedings, soothings, burpings, etc. (lovingly shared by K), I did two things. (Guess I’m in an enumerating mood in the midst of this particular middle of the night feeding!)
1) I responded to my charge from the church service I attended on Sunday the 4th. The pastor urged everyone to commit to making two concrete changes in their lives in 2009 and to e-mail both of those intended changes to the pastor by January 15th so that the church could be in prayer for the fulfillment of those intentions and the church community could otherwise support and hold accountable. My two intentions for the year (growing out of my wider intention to take care of body and mind every day) were to lose 40 pounds by my daughter’s first birthday by rejoining W.W. (of which I became a lifetime member while in seminary, about eight years ago, but for various reasons from which I have fallen far) now that I’m finally near a (make that several) meeting options and will soon be to the safe six weeks post-partum place for weight loss. And the second intention was to achieve and maintain order in my home by undertaking basic tasks on a daily basis (i.e. getting dishes and clothes put away, making the bed) and by cleaning in one room a day for half an hour six days a week. In addition I planned to do laundry every other day, skipping Sundays. (it is AMAZING to me how much laundry we’re generating now! We probably could do it every day, but I think this might make me a bit batty!) I admitted to the pastor in my e-mail that I was pretty confident I could pull off number one, but less certain about number two as all my best cleaning/organizing plans usually are short lived. I asked for lots of prayer on that one and I ask the same from you, if you are so inclined.
2) I mapped out a daily schedule for myself, basically the same Monday – Friday, but with significant alterations on weekends Note that I said for myself. Despite the passionate beliefs of my paternal grandmother, my daughter’s namesake, that babies need rigid schedules… I don’t agree, not yet anyway. I like the way my mom put it… routines, not schedules. It is a bit tricky to try to schedule one’s own life when one is caring for an unscheduled being, but I thought I’d try, with the intention of being as flexible as possible, attending to baby care as needed. I shared the schedule with K and asked for his help in honoring it. He was open to this (bless him, it was “J” overload and this “P” took it in stride!)
Yesterday was day one of working the schedule and beginning to implement intention 2 for the year. And… not so bad. Some of the things took more time than I budgeted, but… yesterday included everything I hoped it would, less focused studying time than I hope to eventually get to, but some such time and I think this is a good start. And boy did I do laundry!!!!
I have to say that I was greatly assisted yesterday in honoring my intentions by my beloved K. How was he able to assist me? Well… sadly (and not so sadly- it is a mixed thing), Kev lost his job last week. This is scary financially, but the job was not a good fit for him and was wearing down his soul so it is a bit of liberation and the timing was a bit of a blessing because my mom left last Friday and I have NO IDEA how, at this stage of babydom, I was supposed to get anything much done (particularly in the studying department) if I were on my own with Caroline for the better part of every day. I had planned to start a couple hours of babysitting everyday (some great teenagers from church are ready to go, we had them over for a bit of orientation a week ago) next week, but not this week. Kev and I make a great team! We took turns with C throughout the day yesterday and worked together in the times when she was most upset. And with this collaboration both of us managed to get quite a bit accomplished, and sit down for three meals together. Oh, if only we could afford to maintain this! But for now… let’s call it Kev’s delayed paternity leave. He’ll seek employment (please pray for him, this is a scary time to be unemployed) and I’ll self-study and we’ll care for baby and home together. And maybe we’ll have a babysitter once a week until employment is found to give us both a break.
This feels good right now. One day at a time, right? Balancing discipline and flexibility, right? I CAN do this! I WILL do this!
And I give thanks to God for the gift of this time with Kev.