I wake up at five and Evaline meets me by her bedroom door as I pass on my way to get a drink of water. We don’t speak, just look at one another in the glow of the twinkling lights illuminating her bedroom. She follows me, like a shadow, and slips beside me when I crawl back into bed.
She stirs, I stir.
I stir, she stirs.
Vinnie stirs, she stirs, I stir.
One minute, she wraps her arms around my neck and nuzzles her nose into my face. The next, I gently pull myself free and roll over to my back, where I stare at the ceiling and think of every project left undone, every photo yet to be edited, the long months of off-season when I will have more time to sit and write, but know that money will be tighter. I think of the dentist appointments, home school commitments, the crazy month ahead of shooting until my camera, or computer, or body, crashes.
She stirs. I pull off the covers and go to work.
It’s a beautiful kind of exhaustion, living in a bustling and busy, never still, organic household, where each new change in one life, bumps up against the lives around it. Everyone feels the vibrations of the others, and everyone balances, or pulls off the covers and gets to work, accordingly
Vinnie works full time, is a partner in a small business with his best friend, has church commitments and recently started his master’s degree. I’m in the midst of the height of work-stress for my year.
He stirs, I stir.
We bump up against each other, differently than we have in fourteen years of marriage. This phase is new, we are new. It’s an amazing thing, building a life together without blueprints…only good intentions at the start, and grace (so much grace), when the learning curves hit.
When the thing you need most, in a crowded life, is space.
To move is good, to stir is normal, to grow and change, is inevitable. To be sure to sit together at the end of an impossibly long Wednesday and decide that being together for a few hours is better and more important than any editing or writing or school work, that you could be doing…that’s a choice.
The kids are all stirring, too, bumping up against each other, and me and Vinnie. Bickering. Whining. Apologizing.
We crash-landed into this school year, completely wrapped-up in the busyness of our family life. The whole house is buzzing with change, with the sense that everything is up in the air, when there’s no actual reason for it, we just haven’t settled into routine yet. Perhaps by Christmas. Or February. Or, at least before next summer.
This morning, I edited until quarter past seven. When the rest of the house began to stir, I laid back down and closed my eyes.
Today, right at this moment, I’m supposed to be out shooting twenty mini-sessions. A rapid fire day of back-to-back-to-back fifteen minute shoots for families and couples. Instead, it’s dreary and drizzling and I’m rescheduling twenty families for other dates and times, hoping to make everyone happy.
In a season of stirring, of bumping up against one another in a rush of stress and angst and everything-all-at-once, I’m embracing the nudge from nature, to not be working. Today, I ran. I cleaned. I hung new photographs of my own family. I swept the steps that haven’t been touched in weeks.
And I sat here, for the first time in a month, maybe two?
And I let the stirring, be.