The echo of a jackhammer and a baby’s intermittent cries are my morning music. A clotheshorse with the days washing blocks my view of Geylang River and the Nicholl Highway bridge.
This is my 30-minute respite for the morning. My eldest is at the playground and my youngest battles the pull of slumber. My husband wants to talk gardening, but I’ve been thinking about this post for a week, so I ask him to wait his turn. For now, I’m first.
I’m using this time to search for my center, reclaim that peace that gets me through the storms of sleepless nights and frustrations born of never having enough time; it’s what keeps me from snapping and keeps me thinking.
There is a part of me that resurfaces just when I think I’ve lost her to parenthood. She’s the piece of me who sacrifices sleep to draft a business plan. She’s the one who fills out the forms and spends a month thinking of a business name that speaks to her goals, her services, and her future. She reviews clients’ work for a ridiculously meager amount, but simply loves helping others when she can.
She’s the writer. She looks at every situation as a potential short story or a scene to a much larger piece. She falls asleep thinking about how she will rewrite the first scene in her novel. She gets my house in order by forcing me to recreate a schedule and follow it.
Ten a-m is her time. She has 30 minutes, and in that time she’s learned to start and stop and re-immerse herself into a story seamlessly. Things like food and toilet wait. Time slows down and each word becomes an expression of creativity.
Her discipline is derived from knowing she is not alone. At ten a-m, some other parent somewhere else is doing the same–cordoning off her space, reacquainting herself with herself to figure out who she wants to be now that she’s a mother and her values have grown.
She finds comfort in knowing that others have done this before, in harsher circumstances.
At ten a-m, she asks just one question of me. Who do you want to be? And in those 30 minutes it’s my actions that answer her.