I don’t mean to be all dark clouds and dirty underneaths here at Apron Stringz. It’s not what I started out for. I was going to write a fun, punky DIY homemaking blog. Do happy things like document my worm bin and the line walked between it and motherhood.
But ever since becoming a mama, the ground has been shifting beneath me. I sometimes feel cheated, pissed that no one told me. How crazy hard it is. Not the specifics of it, but the balancing of it. The emotions of it. The submission of it, worn on my radical freak frame.
When I entered the blog world I was as moony as anyone else over the vicarious perfection of Other Peoples’ Lives, but after a few months the same disillusionment crept in.
I started writing about the tangled ball, the dark threads of mama. Not because I’m so very dark myself, but because darkness is so under-represented, and I do love to champion an underdog. To my surprise, each time I turned over some new ugly rock, comments poured in, reader numbers spiked. Posts about the worm bin went unread, because of course there are a thousand posts out there about worm bins.
C.S. Lewis said “We read to know we are not alone.” And nothing makes a person feel less alone than reading what they thought were there darkest most secret feelings, given voice by another soul.
And so I don’t regret what has become almost A Calling. But recently it occurred to me that by writing so much about the hard, tangly bits of motherhood, I’m giving just as warped a view as anyone else. If you read this blog, and don’t know me in person, I wonder what you must think. Do I go around in a rage all the time, swearing up a blue streak and throwing chairs?
In fact, I’m a very un-rageful person. Before I had kids, I hardly knew what rage was. Even now that I’ve discovered it, it’s not like I am consumed. I have also a shocking quantity of patience. Reserves I never conceived of. And that’s my whole point really, even the gentlest of us feel rage and that’s okay. Mothering is a test of how we deal with that rage.
One of the ways that I deal with it is to write about it here. I spill my darkest moments into the light of the internet partly to purge myself. Here is a safe space. No one gets hurt.
That’s all well and good. But I want to start sharing with you some of the goodnesses of my every day too. Because there is so much of it and leaving it out is a story half told. Even aside from the spiking bliss, the polarity of ecstasy to my darkness, I just a generally enjoy being a mama. It’s crazy hard, yes, but I am present with my kiddos for most of their waking life. I do understand how lucky I am. I get to watch them unfold into the people that they are, and there is nothing, nothing like it. A big, full bloom of succulent joy.
So today, I want to tell you about The Babe. Who’s hardly a babe anymore. He is in fact 19 months old. I too often compare him to his older sister since, opposite to most everyone else’s experience it seems, my second is not so very different than the first. But of course he is wholly his own. How very much his own he can be! In such a small sized bundle of cuddly pudge, such a completely full sized bundle of person-ness.
Often times when people talk about spirited children, “spirited” is code for difficult, or even for bad. I catch myself doing it, putting verbal quotations around the words I use for my kids. Yes, she’s very… “passionate.” Babies with opinions can be a challenge, there’s no doubt, and I can fall into the martyr role sometimes. But in truth I do really deep down adore their fiery independence busting through.
He has this walk. I guess maybe all toddlers do. He strides around like he owns the place. Belly first, full bore, the rest of his body bobbing back and forth to keep up. He is so eager to discover what lies in his kingdom.
I love his vivaciousness, his appetite for life. I love his fearlessness. Oh, of course he runs from big sounds like any one year old, but the tangled kind of fear I talked about in that last post he has not known. All possibilities are opened. His heart, clear. The world is his oyster.
I’ve often wondered at the cliché of “If only he could stay a baby forever!” These cliché people do not have babies like mine, to be sure. But more than that, from the moment of birth I have so looked forward to my babies’ growth. Not in an “I can’t wait till they get out of here so I can have my life back” kind of way, but in an “I can’t wait to see what sort of person he becomes” kind of way. Not that I don’t miss every little lost baby sweetness, I do. Who wouldn’t? But watching my babies become their very own grown up selves is incomparably worth it, worth anything.
I watch his eager, completely confident stride and see a kaleidoscope of him at every age. The rambunctious 5 year old, the outraged 17 year old, the footloose 23 year old, maybe even a papa someday, watching his own son stride around. He will grow into a man, all his own. He’s already on his way.
Look out world.