As of yesterday at 4:00pm, I am officially on maternity leave for 56 glorious days. Working on my feet up until 9 days before my due date has not been easy, and I am so thankful to have some time to rest before she gets here.
Since my midwife ordered me off my bike at 37 weeks, I have taken up long walks with Michael to get some energy out and get my circulation moving. Nothing feels better than getting some fresh air and stretching my stiff body. The last couple weeks I've tagged along as he plays disc golf a couple times a week - and I absolutely cannot complain.
The course is 2 miles of thick trees and open fields where I can just get lost and appreciate the first promises of Spring. It completely renews me to watch everything start to bloom. Between dead grass and empty, bare trees that are only bones left from Winter, the tiniest bright blooms and leaves are starting to sprout. The breeze is cool and the sun is warm, and soon enough, everything will be alive again.
This morning before Michael left for school, he said "happy first day of freedom." There is something silly about it, because even though our days are always ours, and we chose what we do and where we go in life, maternity leave feels a bit like the first day of Summer vacation. I haven't had this long off in over 10 years - I started working when I was in high school and have worked/gone to school ever since.
So really, it does feel like complete freedom. And even though my days will be busy with a newborn, cooking, keeping the house clean, and taking care of my shop, there will also be so many wonderful, lazy moments I am so excited to begin. Digging in the yard, sweet sunshine, open windows and my favorite music, shopping the farmer's market, and gardening. Taking photos, long walks with the little one, and hours on the back patio, wasting our minutes away.
Last week I decided that I would pass on this years Arts Market, which was both relieving and sad for me. I was looking forward to using the money towards a new camera, but lately, I am learning to put my relaxation and priorities in line before everything else. I would have had one month from now to get all my products ready, but instead, I have decided that my list of laying in the sun, gardening, and walks will come first. This is my 6th year that I have had my camera, and I guess I can always stretch it a bit longer. My old lady is still going strong, even if she's terribly outdated and behind on all the fancy things she could be doing compared to newer SLR's.
Today, for my first day of "freedom," I am going grocery shopping to stock up on all my favorite yummy foods. I am going to stop by Grandma & Grandpa's to split open a cantaloupe I bought Grandpa for his 88th birthday, write a letter to a friend, clean a bit, and then sit on the patio and start laying out my garden plan for the season.
So far, my first week of Spring feels absolutely right. And just like every other year when this time begins, I am appreciative and completely sound in how good life really is.