Not all who wander are lost.

Things I have not lost: The last of the baby weight. I am okay with this in the sense that I do have more respect for my body now, having grown and pushed out a baby. And having kept said baby alive for nearly six months using nothing but my body. I am able to be somewhat kinder to its softness. I haven’t pushed it to do much of anything in the way of exercise because of the importance of the almighty milk supply. But I will admit that I wish I could get my rings to fit. I miss them.

Things I have lost: My work keys. The book I was reading. A shirt (don’t worry, it’s not a salacious story. I lost it from the laundry basket). The to-do list. Words. Entire events. Apparently, my mind. Some days, my faith . . . or at least the ability to work on my end of things. Me.

Two books have helped in the past week. They were ostensibly about very different things, but both focused on our responses to God’s love. I feel pretty far from that these days, unsure about what I have done wrong or how to bend God’s ear this way. The books made me feel as if I might be able to find my way back to that love, or at least made me feel as if it could really be there.

Before I went back to work, people said it was the hardest thing I would ever do. They meant the part about leaving my baby with someone else. But that has been okay. I am worried about daycare germs in the fall and how sick he might be, but we have found a nice daycare that even made it possible for us to use cloth diapers. I like work, and I like the nice people I work with. My standard answer is that I wish there were more hours for sleeping, but that we are all doing well.

But going back to work made me feel invisible. There is no faster way, apparently, to get your friends to stop calling you than to be a working mom (I know I should say work-outside-the-home moms, but it takes so long to type. Can we just agree that I know that all moms work and leave it at that? Thanks). There are no blogs for working moms (because we are too tired to write them). The parenting books only address working moms in the “problems and concerns” section. I looked for something to read that might help this hole in my heart, but everything related to Christianity assumes that the woman is staying at home. No wonder I have felt lost. I cannot find a place for myself anywhere, and I have been too exhausted to try to carve one out. You might have noticed that I didn’t write down good things. This is not because there weren’t any, because of course good things were happening every day. It was because there didn’t seem to be a point.

When I went back to work, I would get up every morning, get mostly ready, and then feed Atticus. I am still not one to get mystical and magical about breastfeeding, but those minutes snuggling with him and drinking my coffee were my favorite time of day, a pause before everything else began. I had nothing else to do but sit and wait for him to finish eating. And the coffee, oh, the glorious coffee. It’s pretty mystical and magical, if you ask me.

Now that it is summer vacation, we get to stay in bed until Atticus wakes up, and we all snuggle together while he eats. We have nothing else to do, but Mike still brings me the coffee. Atticus wriggles and giggles and we all laugh together. I think that these moments are where the finding can happen, where we learn to carve out our place together. One thing I learned this spring is that I have trouble doing it alone.

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