Like many woman, I’ve had many jobs. I’ve been a local magazine editor. I’ve run a small department within a university. I’ve done freelance writing. I’m a novelist. But there’s one job that gave me a satisfaction that went soul deep, and that was being a mother. When I was in the midst of it, I was harried, behind schedule, and just trying to keep my head above water managing my household and, at times, my job. Now that it’s over–not that I’m no longer a mother, but rearing young is over–I look back on it with a different perspective. What a sense of loss I felt for a long time. And why? Because it was really, really hard. Why would I miss that? Because it was so rich, too.
I’ve decided the loss was about my sense of purpose (unexpressed or even realized when I was in it). It was so clear and so grand. I had these young beings to keep alive, from bringing them food to getting them to birthday parties. It was nonstop, and it was difficult, and it was, well, grand. A purpose bright and clear, like knights in quest of the holy grail. I felt useful. I felt needed……A good mother rears her young in such a way that they fly off without too many backward looks while she prays their little wings will hold. And if the wings are strong, then a good mother sits alone and begins to understand the complexity that was once hers and makes new purpose, yes, but nothing with such a scale to it…..What about you? What’s your experience in this?
Hit this link and then hit LISTEN and hear a bit of that complexity……….
On another note, I’m not quite over media whiplash. The froth and frill of the royal wedding. Love, marriage, the gown, the kisses. Oh, hopeful fairytale. Then to wake up to Bin Laden’s face huge on the front page and the same endless media over how he died. Seals. Helicopters. Bullets. Burial at sea. What a contrast. It felt like more than my psyche could take in. Once upon a time, information took time to get to you and came in the form of someone telling you or your reading it. Now, it pounds around you like huge drums 24 hours a day…….I don’t know what I think about that. Is it just that I knew a world in which TV only had 3 channels and there weren’t computers, much less phones and i-things? Don’t we need some kind of refuge from the noise? I guess we must make one or become the pinball in a giant machine that propels us from one point to another with no purpose other than making certain we’re listening……….And I’m reminded that death is part of the world we live it. Perhaps that’s what really bothered me……….
It’s an excellent observation about motherhood. I just had a conversation the other day with my mom where I had to ask her to step off the gas a bit and finally let me make my own decisions even if she doesn’t agree with them. I am, after all, 26 and married with a two year old of my own! I watch her struggle with the fact that I married young to a guy going into the military to be a pilot and that I chose to put some of my dreams aside for the time – I know she fears I will sell myself short and not fulfill any of those goals, but isn’t trying to be the best mother you can a dream to fulfill? Some would call it meddling, but she worked so hard to push me out of the nest that I think she feels it necessary at times to keep tweaking this and that. But Life is about trial and error, learning and growing and above all overcoming the failures that will inevitably try to drag you down and I find I’m tweaked enough for right now…
As to the whiplash effect brought on by a beautiful royal wedding and a gruesome death; I feel the media hounds have just mucked up both of them. And our politicians and Hollywood would-be-wits are pandering to the circus and dragging this out needlessly. We could all take a little wind out of the media’s sails by turning a deaf ear to it, enjoying a book that takes us to another time, drawing, writing our own stories or poems or just sitting outside soaking in the sun while the birds serenaded us from above. Thanks for a venue to share some of these thoughts…
I enjoyed hearing what you said about being a mom. It is something I have thought of over the years, wondering what motherhood would be like, and hoping I do half as good a job of it as my own mom- a single parent who raised her two kids both fearlessly (or so it seemed!) and without help from anyone. My hat goes off to the women who take that leap of faith to bring their children into this crazy world- including you.
As for the royal wedding- it gave my heart wings to watch the royal couple pledging their love to one another. Reminded me of “The Sound of Music”- you know that scene where Maria is walking down the aisle of the grand cathedral, and the music is soaring in the background, and time seems to stand still. Love it!!!