The countdown to my return to work is fast approaching - T minus eight days. I preach on World Communion Sunday and the following week, and kick off a new weekly Bible Study and monthly Writing Group in the same two week span. My calendar is perhaps a little ambitious, but I think I did enough planning before I left in July to not completely lose my mind in October. For the last few weeks I've been easing back in - I'm fully engaged in the moms group, and will spend much of the next week planning worship and writing my sermon. (Sans childcare, you know, but we'll figure it out.)
I'm happy to be going back, especially since Ben will be coming home. I know there will be plenty of moments when I feel stretched in one direction or the other (or both, most likely), but I'm also confident that both my church and my family will give me grace. Everything will be okay, so long as I live my moments faithfully: love on my family, work hard, eat good food, and get as much sleep and exercise as I can. (And write. And manage the household clutter. And keep in touch with my friends. And read the Sunday New York Times before the next Sunday New York Times arrives on our driveway, let alone the fifty books I challenged myself to read in 2011. And finally, for the love of God, finish writing my thank you cards. But there I am with the ambition again.) I'm acutely aware of a common pitfall, an almost kneejerk reaction to the pressures of working motherhood: believing that time is a commodity to be organized, an enemy to be conquered, that if you could only hoard enough of it you could finally cross out the dregs of your to do list.
For the first time I got a little weepy today, thinking about how when I return to work, a great deal of my energy will be flung toward Christmas Eve preparations - revising the pageant script, casting the play, sorting the costumes, creating the Powerpoint, picking the hymns. And how, on Christmas Eve, Genevieve will be nearing six months old. The difference between a ten-week-old baby and a twenty-three-week-old baby is astonishing. It's as though time collapses in on itself, or as though someone has set the record on the wrong speed. But only if you don't pay attention, if you let it sweep past you in a blur.
I don't expect to get everything done. I don't expect to capture every photograph I wish I could. I will probably forget something important, or be called away from a meeting because a child needs me. But, oh, I hope I pay attention to at least most of the moments.