Youth is wasted on the young. It’s what they say, isn’t it?
I was just a kid when I started a birthday tradition to write a blog post reminiscing the past age. Granted, this tradition is only four years old, but thinking back on when I was writing my good-bye letter to age 23, it’s a kid I’m looking at.
And now? When I look in the mirror, the awkward hairstyle, bare fingernails, and permanently droopy eyes tell me that my priorities have changed. I am now a person responsible for a baby that, although could melt a thousand strangers’ hearts, is still essentially immobile and therefore entirely dependent on his parents to not only survive but thrive. This is my first birthday as a mama.
Priorities change when you have a baby. It’s what they say, isn’t it?
It’s exactly why I found myself binge-watching Jane the Virgin last Sunday, on my 28th birthday. Idris was napping and I was faced with two choices: I could partake in my birthday tradition of writing a blog post, which required a considerable amount of effort, or I could just give in to the weight of exhaustion and enjoy mindless television, absolutely guilt-free.
Don’t worry, I celebrated the night before. I went out with Kent and Idris to a cute outdoor light show and then we watched some live music, eating burgers from a food truck. Kent and I even downed a couple of shots of rum. A healthy dose of giddiness was in the air. But on the actual day of my birthday, I did absolutely nothing meaningful.
Believe me, I wrestled with the idea that maybe, just maybe, writing was no longer a priority for me. I mean, investing hours on a single blog post suddenly seemed like a questionable way to spend my time. Selfish, even. What was I writing for, anyway? And for whom? Was I adequate enough of an audience? My narcissistic, teenage fantasies of my diaries being found and read centuries later exited left as soon as I got slapped with a reality check that being a mom came with.
There’s not enough hours in the day. That’s what they say, isn’t it?
With never-ending laundry to do, work to catch up on, developmental games to play with Idris… Writing? It’s high up on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. A silly luxury. But I couldn’t help myself–I ended up browsing through all the photos I took during my 27th year of life. And then I came across a picture of the tarot cards that one of my best friends read for me earlier this year.
“Inspired and fantastic, yet fleeting. Firefly energy is behind every poem, song and invention… and our job is to be ready to harness this creative spirit when it graces our path.”
I remember how it felt as if my every atom delighted at the reveal of the firefly card. A stroke of inspiration doesn’t come by often, but when it does, it’s what makes life beautiful. I was so full of self-determination after that tarot reading. Yes, I told myself, it is absolutely essential to keep writing!
We forget so quickly. It’s what they say, isn’t it?
It probably wasn’t even 24 hours after the tarot reading that I submerged back into the world of working and mommying, tossing the matters of art deep from my view. After all, if I was looking for that firefly, it meant my eyes weren’t set on my son. And it was hard not to feel guilty about that.
Signing this out loud to Kent, however, prompted me to disagree with myself. “If I don’t do this for myself, what sort of message would this send to Idris? That I can’t maintain my identity just because I’m his mama now?”
So, I sat down and began to write. A week after my birthday, but still. It always takes me at least a couple of days to write my blog posts and this time was no different, spread out in between nursing, household chores, playtime, meals, and so on forth. I looked back longingly at all the free time I had back when I did my first birthday post. How much more effort it took to write now! And for what purpose, anyway? The circle continued.
Is it selfish to make room for art when I’m already so busy being a full-time employee, a wife, and a mom? The answer to that ever-persistent question finally surfaced. When I took Idris to a live music show, I saw how mesmerized he was and I slowly realized…
If I’m chasing that firefly, I may have my sights away from my baby, but that doesn’t mean I can’t hold his hand and bring him along.