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Posts Tagged ‘motherhood’

“But I have to say something! I need to speak!” This is what I hear from my 3-year-old little mister after I tell him, “No, that’s enough, do not ask again”, after he has asked fifty million times to eat tons of candy, or if he can watch television at midnight, or if he can take off all his clothes in public.

“I need to speak.” He tells me this through little clenched teeth, like he’s holding his words in and if he doesn’t utter them they will explode out of his chest. “Okay”, I tell him, “Say it.” And he will, for the five million and oneth time, ask me for something that he knows he will not get.

And this is me. I stopped praying after my sister died. I had been raised to believe that if I had faith enough to fill a mustard seed, I could move mountains. I prayed every night. I prayed for forgiveness for every sin that I imagined I did. I prayed for blessings for everyone. I prayed prayers of thanks if something good happened to me. But mostly I prayed when I wanted things to change.

I can remember the first time I prayed desperately and vehemently. I was probably about six or seven years old, and in an attempt to bring my parents some joy, I prayed that I would wake up the next morning and be a baby again. An infant. I wanted them to smile and hold me and forget any troubles they ever had. I wanted to make them happy. I can remember praying so hard that sweat rolled down my back. I can remember lying in bed and crying and pleading. I had faith to fill ten mustard seeds.

When I woke up the next morning, still very much six years old, I laid in bed and sobbed.

I prayed when my sister was dying. I prayed and I begged. I prayed out loud in the hospital. I cursed, and I knew. I knew that my prayers were just whispers. I knew they weren’t going anywhere. And maybe it was the doubt that came in when I woke up in my bed at six years old, but I knew I was all alone.

When my sister died I felt completely betrayed and lied to. Everything I had ever been told was a lie, a trick, and I felt so supremely ignorant. There was no giant man in white robes with outstretched arms who could both love me if I obeyed, and torture me if I sinned. I had been made to feel guilt for actions that were natural. I had been told stories that warped my perception of who I am. I felt full of rage for being made to feel that I was being taken care of by a giant father, and that the sins that I had committed were causing me to suffer.

I felt cut off and I refused to ever pray again.

Sometimes prayers would enter into my mind and I would stop them, “No. That’s not real. No one is there to hear that.” And I would move on and go forward except with something that felt like a sore and tender part in my chest and emotions that were almost always on the verge of tears.

When people would talk about God or religion I would smile, but inside I would think of their ignorance and pity them. All the while something inside of me felt like a rubber band being pulled tighter and tighter. Something like anxiety and fear and anger. Like a dog in a corner.

This past year, though, I have been allowing myself to let go. The caged dog inside of me yells out, “I HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY! I NEED TO SPEAK!”, and I say, “Okay, it’s okay to believe in God. It’s okay to pray. You can pray.” And slowly, I have allowed myself to whisper prayers.

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I don’t pray like I used to. When I used to pray I would imagine a giant man with a beard sort of smiling at me and sort of frowning who would nod as my words entered his ears. Now, when I pray, I think of the stars. I think of the blackness of the sky and I think of spaces that exist deep inside of the earth. I imagine energy flowing out of me. I imagine all the people of the earth and all of the animals and I pray to them. I wish for them. I used to start off my prayers with “Dear God” and ended them with “Amen”. Now, when I need to speak, I just speak. I speak almost constantly. I look at the sunshine and I thank it for it’s beauty. I look at the road and imagine the hands that built it and thank those people for their hands. I look at my sweet little babies and I thank their souls and I thank their hands and I thank their noses. I also thank myself, I thank myself for allowing me to speak. I thank myself for allowing me to believe in a God, and for allowing that God to be something different than the God that I was always told about. And I thank the world for teaching me that maybe even if I ask five million and one times for something I may never get it, but that it’s okay to speak anyways.

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And so, I have something to say, and that something is thank you. Thank you for you beauty, your kindness, and your prayers, and thank you for allowing me to speak.

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Lately

Oh, hello old friend. Fancy seeing you here. I know I haven’t been around in a while. It’s not that I don’t want to. In fact, the exact opposite. There’s not too many a day that pass by where I don’t have an idea that comes into my head that I want to take here to transmit to the rest of the world. Except, once I have the “time” to put that idea down there is something that stops me. Like, writing up lesson plans for the next day, completing art projects, convincing the Jude to sleep/shower/put on underpants, brief and wonderful dances with that thing we used to call sleep. I don’t necessarily feel busy, but maybe I am. I get to do this job where I work with these really beautiful and wonderful and infuriating young people that I love, and I get to spend the vast majority of the day knee deep in cuddles and giggles and drool and poop.

It’s not bad.

But, I guess it doesn’t give me a whole lot of wiggle room. The Jude, in finding himself as a toddler and therefore and adult, tells me more about life every day. Lately, when I find myself having to take toys that are thrown at the baby or food that has been smushed into everywhere, he pushes out his lip and says to me, “Mama, you just broke my heart.” And it breaks my heart. I imagine him with his lover far far faaaaarrr in the future and I almost pity the person. He’ll be like his father. Too charming. Too silly. Absolutely beautiful and special, and they will be so deeply in love that any indiscretion he commits will be automatically forgiven. I imagine that he may break some hearts.

The baby princess is now noisy. She sits on her own and chirps her morning afternoon and evening songs until someone presents her with whatever her chirpy little mouth desires. Her chubby rolls are lasting and get coos and smiles everywhere we go. I like to kiss them while her scratchy little paws pull out clumps of my hair. 

My heart feels sort of torn. Everyone says that when you have more than one little person gripping at you day and night your love is not divided, but multiplied. I think of this saying a lot. I feel like my love is multiplied. In fact, I feel this overflowing of love. This strange happiness follows me everywhere and makes me believe that only good things will happen from here on out. But, I still feel like I’m gypping one kid when I do not slather this abundance of love all over them and instead dividing it up between them. There is more love, but it is still divided. Like, when we go to bed. Sweet baby D goes down around 8:30. We snuggle and we nurse and she’s out within about five minutes. Snuggled up around her little chubby baby body and smelling her little pheromone head and breathing in cadence with her short baby breaths without fail sends me into the first phases of the REM cycle. And then, without fail, Jude comes with pitter patter toes and a three year old voice and three-year-old bouncing feet and even when I start to send some kind of prayer plea desperate cry to the universe he jumps up into the bed and on my head. At this moment my love feels divided. I feel like I want to stay curled up with baby D and warm and dream about mermaids and pizza all night, and I want the three year old Jude to climb into his own bed and settle in and just go to sleep.

It is at this moment that I usually cry. I cry those real desperate oh-my-god-what-have-I-done-this-is-not-life tears. Then I slide my arm out from under baby D, and I rub my eyes, and I entertain and brush teeth and read books and finally finally finally lay my head down beside him. And then, we cuddle up, and before bed he rubs his nose on mine, for snuzzies, and love is multiplied once again.

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Me-12:00

So, I know this face.  This picture didn’t take me aback, I didn’t wonder at the unattractive stranger staring back at me from my parents kitchen.  This is my go to face when I know for sure that I’m not going to pull off cute or alluring or put together.  It’s my, “I’m goofy, love me for the goofy!”, face.  I told myself that I wouldn’t pull this charmer for this blog, but yesterday was a necessity.  Yesterday was the dawn of the aforementioned “Stay up till six in the A.M. just for fun baby and me no sleep ever night.”  I was sleep deprived and hungry and couldn’t find my toothbrush.  I think I deserved a goofy one.

I know I complain about the night of no sleep, but actually it was nice.  I’ve been a night owl most of my life, probably where the little dude gets it, and it was oddly calming to stay up and watch the outdoors brighten while snacking on popcorn and watching cartoons from my childhood, of course with the sweet baby face snuggled up beside me.  He was happy and having fun, so was I.  It made me think a lot about time and all the constraints that life is going to put on the babe, and all of the rules I’ve already had to make for myself.  I feel anxiety over the late hours that we stay up, embarrassed when I have to admit to other mothers how late we usually go to bed.  I even usually shave off a few hours, “Ohhh, he’s in bed by about 10-11, it’s hooorrriibbbllee, I can’t change his schedule.”.  When really this schedule fits us both.  Baby doesn’t follow along with the rules of time.  He sleeps when he’s tired and he plays when he’s not.  He doesn’t understand, “Do this tomorrow”, all he knows is he wants it right now.  The other night when we stayed up I put aside my worries that we would sleep in and miss Gymboree, or that the next day would be wasted.  Instead I just played and enjoyed rolling around in his puppy tent.

I wish it could stay like this.  I wish I could stay up every night without worrying that I’m a bad mom, or feeling anxiety riddled about all the work that I have yet to get done.  I wish I could hold on to little baby forever and giggle with him and curl up next to him when we are both too exhausted to rock out to The Talking heads anymore.  But I know the real world won’t allow it.  It tells us that we have to conform to it’s system, and that if we don’t, ample sleep medication can be dolled out in coma inducing doses.  I start classes next week, and I know the late night rendezvous full of snack and giggles will come to an anxiety, and tear-filled, stop.  I’ll have to get the babe to bed to do homework, study, write.  I’ll have to be an adult.  And I don’t wanna :(.

Here’s the little guy’s mug shot from the morning.  He looks almost as silly as me :p.

Oh Hai, I'm blurry baby.

 

 

 

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Tonight, I sit next to my part time lover as he sleeps.  His head rolls to the side and his breaths come out in soft semi-moans.  We’re in my parents family room, and my mom is watching him with her brows all pushed together and baby is running around shoving forks down his britches.

It’s a semi-normal routine.  Me awake, baby awake, him asleep sitting up on the couch.  Sometimes it doesn’t bother me, and sometimes I look over and his face looks really scrunched and I wonder, “Is this what it will always be like?”.

I got in contact with a friend of mine that I knew in high-school.  That was a time way back when I was a vegetarian and I wore my hair short and cut up and made all my clothes.  He told me that he was in Vienna, part of two and a half months that he had spent traveling.  Just traveling.

He asked what I had been up to, and I froze.  I didn’t know what to say.  Where do I start?  I don’t have an exotic life where I jetset around the globe and wear a backpack full of souvenirs.  I don’t make love under the stars, I don’t speak different languages and I don’t dance with exotic strangers in foreign night clubs until the wee hours of the morning.

I live in the house I lived in in highschool.  And, while watching baby do all these beautiful and brilliant things is wonderful and magical and I feel like he’s the most exotic and interesting little souvenir that I can put inside of my pocket, somehow I feel defeated on paper.

I wrote to him:” I am enjoying summer, I have a wonderful two year old Jude that I spend all of my time with.”  And that was it.

It is hard to explain to people that my life will never be the romantic adventure that sometimes I dream it was.  It’s hard to explain that I’ve already been on an adventure.  That my life has been exhausting and beautiful and so terrible already, that I’m afraid to drift away from what it has become.  It’s hard to explain that little baby is the life that I cling to, the life that I want.  Maybe it’s just me that feels like it’s not enough, that I should be more.  Or maybe it’s just this feeling I have that someday, there will be more.  That baby and me will have much more than just swimming lessons and gymboree and storytime.

At 24, my life story is already an exotic adventure.   I just wish I didn’t feel like I had to tell it to people to prove to them that I’m just as well traveled as they are…

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