Firewood to Feel Better

Hey girls, come closer.  Yes, come over here.  I’m going to tell you a secret.  It’s deep and dark and my children wouldn’t even believe me if I told them.

Here it goes:

Once upon a time, I was more than a mommy.

I was all these different things, both tough and gentle, both capable and flimsy, both professional and irresponsible.

And they’re still there, somewhere deep inside, all the parts of me that have been shelved, or perhaps, just haven’t been put on the schedule for years.   Namely, the parts that aren’t kind and gentle.  That’s the name of the baby game: kind and gentle.  I say it to my kids multiple times a day when they’re getting too rough with their love for their baby brother.

But acting kind and gentle, nurturing and patient, soothing and caring can get old.

Real old.

I’m a firm believer in an escape valve for young mommies.  Something they love.  Or that scratches their itch.

For me, in this cold December season, still fairly sleep-deprived by a magnetically adorable two-month-old boy, I need outside.  I need to be out in the cold fresh air.  I need to pull on my gloves, shoulder my work coat, and work with firewood.

Firewood totally makes me feel better.

Weird, right?

A few years ago we saved up and bought a wood-burning fireplace insert.  I look forward every winter to building and feeding the fires.  It calms my heart to watch the flames dance.  I’m a total cave woman about it.

And I love firewood.  I love stacking it.  I love sorting it.  An as much as I can, I love chopping it.

There is something in a Mama that needs to be aggressive.  The antithesis of soothing and caring, patient and gentle.  Mama needs a bit of balance.  And firewood needs aggression.  It needs to be chopped and hefted, loaded up, shoved in, and lit afire.

The whole process feels like home to me.  Like, the home that’s somewhere deep inside, the primal place that is still terribly real in the face of central heating and smartphones.  I think this is what I’m most thankful for: with all the bells and whistles of modern comforts, there is still an irresistible urge to be human, to build a fire, and to watch it’s mesmerizing dance.