I hear my young child calling out in the middle of the night. She must have kicked her blankets off again. She must be cold. I am cosy and warm. My blankets envelop me, tempting me to remain where I am, but I know what I must do. I get up and make my way to my daughter’s room. I pull the blankets up over her small, curled body and rub her back to warm her. While I am up, I check on her two older sisters, then finally make my way to my own blankets which have lost a bit of their warmth. I chase the sleep which has abandoned me.
Why leave the comfort of a warm bed to tend to another? For love.
I hug and kiss my beautiful daughter, then wave goodbye, leaving her in the care of another as I commence the day’s paid employment. My heart is torn on a regular basis, but this is a choice we have made as a family, this is my attempt at contributing to our financial security, so my husband and I can both provide for our children’s futures.
Why would I forego time spent with my children? Funnily enough, for love.
In the evenings after my children are asleep, the lure of an unread book, a movie waiting in its dvd cover or an early night to sleep can be incredibly tempting. Sometimes, though, I make comfort wait. Instead I sit at the computer and tap away, creating.
Why work into the night on an unpaid piece of writing? For love.
In this time in my life, I am many things to many people. I am a wife to my incredible husband. I am a mother to three wonderful daughters aged seven, four and two. I am a professional who works 20 hours per week, a hobby-blogger and a debut novelist. I also co-ordinate my daughters’ weekly playgroup and my husband and I are in the thick of building a house. I am a daughter, a friend and a parishioner.
This time in my life is full and demanding, yet I attempt to meet the needs of many with my finite resources of time and energy. However, the infinite resource of love grows more bountiful the more it is used. Love is such a powerful motivation to do so many things. Love for my family. Love for and through my faith. Love for my interests.
Fitting everything in can sometimes seem like trying to do a jigsaw puzzle with one too many pieces. Sometimes a piece of the jigsaw puzzle needs to be put to one side for a while to manage things. An after-school activity might need to be dropped, the blogging might slow down, or we might not socialise for a while. Although love is an infinite resource, it is not a superpower which makes everything possible all the time. Sometimes compromises must be made. Sometimes help must be asked of others. In making decisions about compromise, we prioritise. And in this, I am guided by love.
“Having it all” is a fantasy we are constantly being sold. “Wanting it all” is an aspiration I admit to having. I can wear myself out trying to do so much and fit it “all” in, trying to be the best of everything, when everything encompasses so much. And then I inevitably stop. I slow down. I reflect. I realise, again, that the “all” we are told to have and for which I strive is a subjective thing. My “all” is not what I am sold in magazines. My “all” is the sum of my loves. So I have no reservations in wanting my “all”, in working for it, in living it. For my “all”, I strive every day.
Although it can be draining, testing and demanding, it is absolutely worth it. I am having the time of my life!
Francesca’s debut novel Returning is available through online booksellers as a paperback and an ebook. Please visit www.francescasuters.weebly.com/books.html