I was reading about Stephanie Nielson, writer of the nienie dialogues and recent victim of a private airplane crash. Her story brought me to her very lovely blog and introduced me to a woman in love with motherhood. It got me thinking about my own calling to motherhood.
Getting pregnant was one of the most incredible and magical things that has ever happened to me. And now, here I am with a brilliant, charismatic boy sitting on the cusp of school and all that comes with that transition. The second time I got pregnant happened without the intent of my first insemination, but it was just as magical. Now I have a beautiful daughter with a blossoming personality. My children are fun and loving - laughs and cuddles are a regular part of any given day. They are beginning to enjoy one another's company - freeing me for brief moments to be alone... and in that solitude I resent them. I resent my loss of freedom, my necessary dedication to things like housework, I resent them for their constant needs and demands and I resent the world for not being a safe and happy place.
How sad is that? Last night, as I lay awake wondering if the LHC would bring the apocalypse, it hit me... it doesn't matter. I read this quote from Tuesdays with Morrie on a poster last week:
"'Everybody knows they're going to die, but nobody believes it. If we did, we would do things differently,' Morrie said. 'So we kid ourselves about death,' I (Mitch) said. 'Yes, but there's a better approach. To know you're going to die and be prepared for it at any time. That's better. That way you can be actually be more involved in your life while you're living. . . Every day, have a little bird on your shoulder that asks, 'Is today the day? Am I ready? Am I doing all I need to do? Am I being the person I want to be?... The truth is, Mitch, once you learn how to die, you learn how to live... Most of us walk around as if we're sleepwalking. We really don't experience the world fully because we're half asleep, doing things we automatically think we have to do... Learn how to die, and you learn how to live.'" -- Tuesdays with Morrie
I hadn't given death much thought until recently. I had given it the cursory concern - diligently checking sleeping children for patterns of breath, but beyond that? I have been content to roll about in my bubble of denial, resentment and misery. Being depressed gives us an extra level of fear about death and thinking about death. Being depressed brings the spectre of suicide, that decidedly backwards human condition that nullifies our instinct to survive. So the bubble became not just accepted, but encouraged, with thoughts of death willed to the back of my mind for fear of where that path may take me.
But suicide's not for me. Never has been, seems like a big, fat, selfish waste. What if we die and there's nothing? That's like buying a $40 cheesecake and throwing it out after a few bites. To keep on the cheesecake metaphor, what most of us are doing with our lives amounts to letting that delicious dessert rot in the fridge, or get burned in the freezer - waiting for the day we'll take it out and enjoy it.
The end could be nigh, chances are you and I won't know until it's too late. I don't live everyday like it could be my last, but I would like to start. Which brings me back to my calling to motherhood. I chose to stay at home because I didn't want to miss anything. I felt like my parents got a raw deal, both working and leaving my primary care in the hands of others. I also stayed home because I carry resentment for growing up in what is now a typical family, but was still unusual in the 80's.
But is having a mother who grudgingly attends to their basic needs really any better? What happened to my promise to them? My promise to take care of their budding minds?
Besides, I like my kids, they're cool and fun. I like being a mother. I just happen to have had a rough year - thankfully, kids are resilient and they will be just fine. I have been terribly hard on myself this year, I'm done. Things may not be perfect and that's okay.