Thursday, August 12

This Part of the Journey

There is silence all around me.  Everyone else is in bed.  This seems to be the only time I can really write.  Between relearning how to nurse, potty training, keeping the house clean, trying to nap whenever possible, and cleaning up after a cross-country trip, I find that these rare moments of quiet in my house, and in my life, are the only moments when I can sit to put thoughts down before they disappear, like my full coffee cup from this morning.  Where on earth did I set that down?

I have goals and things I want to accomplish, for myself certainly, but also for Jonah and Caroline.  I'd like to learn to sew, finish Sweet Caroline's baby blanket, write one new story every week, teach Jonah his letters, finish reading "The Heroine's Journey" ....

But instead it seems that I have only enough time to scribble down a few ideas between the endless dishes, laundry, nursing, kissing the owies and the fifty million other things that never quite come off my to-do list.

Who nurtures the nurturer?  Who comforts the comforter?  Who cleans up after the cleaner?  Who mothers the mother?

It doesn't seem that there is an answer to these questions.  I have gathered that somehow these things are supposed to come ethereally from the inherent goodness of  my own actions as a mother.  In some way I am supposed to feel loved and appreciated and feminine as I stand over a sink of dirty dishes.  And yet I do not.  Somehow, I don't think I'm just doing it wrong.

Do not misunderstand- I don't regret having my babies.  I am not resentful that this life has needs that I must meet.  I simply do not understand why meeting those needs should make me feel whole as a woman, or even like a woman at all.  Instead I feel more like communal property, or simply the one who gives.  My biggest fear is not that I won't be appreciated or loved- every time Sweet Caroline smiles and Jonah touches my moles, and Josh wraps his arms around me, I feel loved.  My biggest fear is that one day they will move on and I will not know myself.  Without someone to hover over and care for I will be left feeling, all the time, as I do anytime I am surrounded by people I do not know.  Uncomfortable and shy.  

In these quiet little moments I try to find myself under the laundry and dishes and piles of toys and goodness-knows-what-else that demand so much of my attention.  So much of my life has changed because I have changed so much of myself over the last few years.  I want to get to know this new woman that I have become.  

I guess that's what this part of the journey is about.  I take this time to fill my pack with the people I love and trudge up hill to a place where they will be able to walk on their own, and in the mean time I keep in touch with myself, so when they take their own paths, I am able to choose one for myself


t sanders said...

I have so many thoughts regarding this yet they come from such a completely different perspective.

Chara said...

I'd like to hear them...

t sanders said...

You see, every moment you spend is an investment. You give a part of yourself to Jonah, to Caroline, to Josh. You may be in fact giving a part of yourself away, and losing yourself in the meantime, but it's an investment. What you are investing in is 3 lives, 2 of which will become your legacy. For what you are giving now, you will gain so much more in the future.

The only laundry I have to do is my own. The only dinner I have to cook is my own.

When I serve and do for others they are sedated. When they wake up they do not know me or what I have done for them.

I do not have a husband or children who demand all of me all day long. There is no one I have to give anything to. My time is mine, my life is mine.

But my actions are not investments for my future. I am not building a legacy. And while my time and my life are my own, there is also no one to give them to or share them with.

I know that you do not regret your life or wish it to be different. I do know that what you wish for is time and quiet and peace. But know that being surrounded is more valuable than being alone. You will reap so much more later in life because of what you are demanded to give at this time.

I had so much more to say and such different thoughts, but this is what I have given you for now.

Rose Arrowsmith DeCoux said...

I find that what I really need is to be around other mothers, which I have not made happen often enough. What I need for the nurturer to be nurtured is to really be with someone else who can say "me too," because that validates everything for me and I can find the humor and thus find myself under all the dishes, etc. Maybe it's like bats using sound waves to figure out where everything else is--they don't know until the waves hit something else and bounce back--or like sounding in a submarine or a ship or something--you need a response.