I started this post cause I had a great title. I thought it would get a few laughs. Those in the know would nod their heads in recognition. MOTHER = GUILT for a list of reasons a mile long. All of the things we aren’t doing perfectly. All of the therapy hours we’re racking up for our kids with the things we say to them on a daily basis. Old joke. But I started to feel weepy that my son is getting old! The big eight. And then I had a glass of wine and out poured all the feelings that lead to more babies…
I remember sitting at my mother’s bedside a month into Hospice. I was 30 and yet to have a baby. I was trying to be an entrepreneurial superstar. She started saying all the things one says when they know they are going to die.
“You are my greatest accomplishment,” she said. I said thank you but couldn’t understand this at all. I was sad for her when she said that. I thought how small her dreams must have been if having a kid was her big hurrah. Anyone can have a kid. But as I type away on my computer, pictures are scrolling on my desktop. I see pictures of my son jumping off the diving board for the first time. I see him hunting for Easter eggs. I see him in the lawn having a catch with his dad. I look at his smile…his happiness, and I get it. My mother’s words ring true. No matter anything else I do, my happy, flourishing child is truly my greatest accomplishment, because he is pure love. And above all else, love is all that matters.
But now that he is 8, I feel so less needed. He gets his own breakfast, he snuggles less than he used to, he says goodbye without a hug. My husband points out a job well done. I see a hole to fill. It is precisely this feeling that makes more babies. I am not having more babies so I need to fill that hole with something else.
Some stupidly evolved person long ago said the stupid catch phrase “follow your bliss.” Ok, so it turns out it was Joseph Campbell and he is dead and can’t defend himself and he was really brilliant but he was no mother. Mothers are so entrenched in helping our little ones follow their bliss or at least follow the current track for hockey or soccer or dance, that ours becomes a fleeting thought late in the night when we are too tired to think, let alone act on any inkling of desire. Then we wake up one day PISSED at the world and we cant figure out why. Maybe we should have followed our bliss a little more. That word “should” deserves it’s own essay. How things should be vs. how things are.
And getting back to that love matters babble…loving oneself enough to value your own dreams is hard work, but so worth it. What no one tells you is that not following them is much harder…
This Mother’s Day, I wish you uninterrupted time to reflect on what lights your soul on fire or at the very least, what burns your ass. Those things that others do that piss you off to high hell, just might be the neon sign lighting the way to your new business, next screenplay or next race to run. What little voice have you scooped cat litter on to avoid thinking about your dreams as a woman, as a human, as a mother?
Happy Mother’s Day All!!