Tuesday, October 12, 2010

My Life's Work


Yesterday we spent the whole afternoon at the beach. All the way till the sun went down. Ginger ran up and down the beach. Paprika and I chased her. I told Paprika that she had to be Ginger's buddy and watch out for her. It's a position Paprika takes very seriously!


We dug sand tunnels, ran in and out of the cool Pacific waters, and chased the sea gulls. I took my old camera...the "throw-away" camera, since me plus sand equals very bad things for cameras. It still does the trick!


Even though it feels more summery than ever, the crowds have left the beach, and we had the whole place to ourselves. It was calm, peaceful...the kind of place that lends itself to reflection.


I have been watching my friends and old classmates go off into the bigger world and do amazing things. Become wealthy, successful, and even famous. I wonder about the potential in me. What did film school and law school mean? When am I going to go off and make my mark?


I know what I do on a day to day basis may seem small to some. It may seem like the type of work you could just give to a nanny. It might seem like it is always so easy, and effortless to raise young children and that my biggest worries are what to fix for snack-time.

But, it's not.

It is challenging in ways I never thought, and rewarding beyond measure. I am on my own most of the time with the girls, as Mr. Mustard works really hard to give us the life we have...and both our families live far away. I am not complaining - it is our reality and it is the life we have built together. It is a life I love.

I don't know if that screenplay will ever get written, or if I will go join the law firm of Blah, Blah, Blah & Blah. My photographs may never hang in galleries and instead find their homes on refrigerator doors.

My focus is right here, and it consumes me. My time, my energy, and my love. Some would say it's a bad thing, and I need a life. But, my life is here, and I am happy with it. Content. It is a good life just as it is, without the awards and fame and hoopla.

We make our own hoopla!


After a long time chasing Ginger up and down the coast, we went to the pier and to the little "Requarium" (as Paprika calls the Aquarium). The touch tanks were full of our favorites.


And we couldn't wait to get our hands wet.


After the requarium, we watched the surfers from our perch on the pier.


Paprika told me that she want to be a surfer, and "Mommy, can I please, please surf?"

I said, "When you're bigger."

And she said, "But, I am bigger."

I am not ready for my Paprika to go out into that big blue ocean.


We watched the sun set, and felt the warm, golden rays on our skin.


We left as the sun slipped down low in the sky. Paprika held my hand off and on as I carried Ginger (and our bags)! I felt loaded down but light at the same time.


And it dawned on me. Even though much of the load of mothering is hard, exhausting, and the hours are so very long sometimes, there is so much reward in the day to day, the moments of unexpected surprise, and the beauty of these simple days.


When I go to work every day, right here, I am doing my life's work. And it is beautiful, worthwhile, and priceless beyond measure.



Sheila said...

Right answer. Right Life. You have the best salary and success of all.
It's measured in hugs,kisses, giggles and the loving eyes of your sweetheart when he comes in the door of the home the two of you are making for "your family".
Enjoy your success you are earning every precious bit of it.

Sophia said...

I am so jealous that you are able to hang out at the beach in October....we are fully into fall and even getting close to winter temps lately. And gosh, your girls are just SO precious! Your pictures are gorgeous...what kind of a camera do you have?

MicheleL said...

It sounds like an absolutely perfect day to me. You'll have plenty of time to pursue your career options when these little ones grow up, which I know you don't even want to THINK about right now!!! You have a wonderful life and you're making a difference in the world by raising these two beautiful babies.

Erika said...

thanks girls!

sophia- yesterday i used my canon digital elph powershot (it's an old model- SD550) at the beach. i also have a canon 7d, and a lumix point and shoot. but i LOVE those canon digital elphs! i am a canon girl at heart!

Stephanie said...

Thanks for posting this...today was a tough day with my girls, they were grouchy and fighting me on things that I thought shouldn't be a fight and I felt like maybe I don't need to be home with them, maybe daycare would be better and they would be happier. BUT I know I made this choice for a reason and I know they will be better people for my choice! I spend every waking moment taking care of these little people and today was one of those days that I felt like they weren't happy no matter what I did. So, anyway your post hit the nail on the head. This is my life and I do love it!

FourJedis said...

E, you were made to do great things. No matter what you choose to do, you'll do great, and your work with your children is so obviously amazing. They are such lovely, magical beings, with creativities far greater than any I've ever seen. At the end of the day, you can take credit for it (not that you would because you're still so humble), and know that you have not failed those two in any way.

Brenna said...

That last sentence made me tear up! Life is so long and our babies are babies for such a short time. I'm struggling with this right now and wondering if I should stop working to be with T all day, every day...I think once he's a little older this decision will be an important one for our family. Daddy doesn't make quite what Mr. Mustard makes, but then I think, how much do we really need? If we have food on the table and a roof over our heads, what else is essential? I'm sure we'll figure it out. Sounds like you already have. :)

Sending lots of love to you and your beautiful girls~

BrennansMommy said...

Hi Erika-I have read through your blog and it is so inspiring to me. I feel our situations are somewhat similar. I have a 3 year old son who was born at 29 weeks (2lb 12oz) due to preeclampsia. He is absolutely perfect and we could not be more thankful for him. Last year I had a miscarriage and then got pregnant with twin girls in February. I was a nervous wreck after having my son so early and then the miscarriage. I developed preeclampsia with my girls and was admitted to the hospital at 24 weeks. I was forced to deliver them at 26 weeks on July 24, 2010 because I was too sick and one of the babies had compromised blood flow. They were 1lb 2oz and 1lb 3oz and absolutely perfect. My daughter Scotlyn developed an aggressive bacterial infection that she couldn't fight off and passed away after 4 days. Reese developed bacterial pneumonia and lost her battle after 10 days. This has been the most tragic event in my life. Since I have developed severe preeclampsia twice and so early, we have decided not to have another baby on our own. We are going to pursue surrogacy. Your blog posts since you had Ginger offer a lot of hope to me. There are times when reading your blog that I've felt like I could have written it myself (not as good though!!) The blog that is attached to this comment is one I started with my son. I have another website that I started to keep everyone updated when I was in the hospital www.caringbridge.com/visit/wymantwins. I have sort of been blogging on there and thinking of starting another blog, but trying to figure out how to combine my blog and my caringbridge. Anyway, I want to tell you how adorable your daughters are and how sorry I am about your twins daughters. I appreciate that you have shared your story because it does give me hope for moving forward in my life without my precious girls. You don't have to necessarily approve this as a comment, I just wanted to send you this message. My email is nurse4kids81@hotmail.com if you have time to respond:) Kim