Saturday, September 24, 2011

Roles and Reversals

My husband becomes a summertime SAHD and we joke that he's turning into me: an unrepentant, satisfied slacker. I lose my part-time job, become a SAHM and -go figure- I start turning into him: an unapologetic, driven perfectionist.

We've traded roles so many times in our marriage, and -look!- here's another brand new amalgamation! I'll tell you what: it's a lot harder to be him. Unrepentant, satisfied slacker has a lot to say for itself. But alas, it doesn't seem to be that season for me. And Lord knows, I can't say I haven't had my turn!

So it's the season of change, for all of us.

Our boy turns three and sentences start tumbling through his mind faster than his tongue can formulate the words. Whole worlds are unfolding in the creases of his brain. He fights for control of whatever he can control, out in the real world. When given the reins, he spins narratives like spider webs: marvelous and shimmery, suspended in the air, catching us all.

And my girl? Oh, you guys, my wonderful baby girl!? Remember when I worried about her potential 'tude, right here? Well, she is just the sweetest thing ever to melt in your mouth since butter. But she knows just what she wants, and she will let you know just what she wants, and she will not stop letting you know, with increasing volume and intensity, until she gets it. Whereupon she's sweet as butter, once again.

I've been swimming laps, when I can. This Saturday and last I completed a mile. My husband kept the girl so I could swim without fear of interruption. The plan has been to gradually allow my daughter to adjust to the child care at the gym, with the end goal being that I could pick up more fitness classes. That seemed like the most practical thing: ensure myself exercise, and get paid for it at the same time. It would mean more teaching: I'm teaching my babies all day, and yoga one evening a week.

When I swim, though, I feel like the student. Like I'm asking my body and the water a new question with every pull of my arms through a stroke. I look at the space and the light between me and the ceiling, in a backstroke, and it's a little bit like talking to God. And what I'm saying is like some great big question that I can never quite put into words. My body is slicing and curving through the water like a question mark, like hands cupped in prayer.

I wonder if what I need right now is just to be the student.

1 comment:

  1. You should know I've re-read this about five times. Those last lines are exactly how I feel almost every day. I swam when I was a kid and loved it, I haven't returned to it physically, but your words helped my heart and body remember those rhythm, that movement of the body through the water, communion and baptism all tied up in those motions.

    I'm glad we're both students together.