I’m sitting at my dining room table – the Center of my Universe in many ways – waiting for my kids to come charging in the door, bringing with them noise and moods, leaking lunch boxes and crumpled papers – some of import, many that fill our recycling bin with startling speed. Tobey will probably have grass-stains and maybe even another hole in the knee of his pants. Bella may be silly, a raised eyebrow with sardonic wit – or could just as easily have downturned shoulders and a cloudy face that wont’ give way easily to my questions. They are hungry: now, not later. They want to know what we’re doing now, and later, and later still, and then tomorrow. Questions, needs, and – very occasionally – news of their days fills the house.
But for now, it’s still quiet. My yoga mat is unfurled on the floor and my notebook open as I plan my first ever workshop – this one for mothers on how to fill your own cup. It’s amusing that I’m teaching this as my own cup — the bank of energy that allows us to keep going in the midst of the chaos that is parenting — is empty. But perhaps we teach what we need to hear ourselves. And I certainly look forward to practicing with a small group of women who are on a similar path.
I started mothering with a partner. To be fair, I still co-parent a fair amount with both my ex-husband and my present partner; but often I feel like a single mother. I think many mothers do. It’s a path that both enriches and enrages, emboldens and sometimes, I admit, embitters.
The crabapple that we planted when we moved into this house eight years ago is about to bloom. Finally. It is late this year because it’s been so cool and wet; holding on to itself out of fear of freezing, I guess. Holding on will do you no good when it is your nature to bloom.
Earlier this week, I wrote a poem for a friend’s birthday. She’s a dear fellow traveler on my life’s journey … and she just turned fifty! It made me gulp at both the impossibility of the number and its beauty. Though I had her in mind, it goes out to all of my mama friends this week of the day of the mother. To the one with the crazy boss who just keeps laughing. To the ones with the new babies. The neighbor with three little ones underfoot who just lent my daughter her first pair of heels for the school orchestra concert. To my other neighbor who is going back to school and somehow keeping homemade meals on the table most nights. To my friend out east parenting two kids in the midst of a broken marriage from which she can’t quite depart. To … ah, I could go on. It’s to you.
We continue to grow despite and because of the hard stuff, the dumb stuff, the mean stuff.
We expand and – occasionally – we bloom.
We make art that amazes people with its beauty,
Even when they don’t notice the shard of glass in the eye.
We are patient in our anger. We are angry in our joy.
Placing a hand on our bellies, we fill our breath down to the depths and then ride it back up.
Cold spaghetti on a white plate.
Half-drunk glass of milk.
Sink full of dishes.
Muddy shoes askew by the door.
A broken pencil and a torn spelling list – look, chew, hoof
Laundry, laundry, laundry.
Fill the tank. Seventy-five dollars! Fuck.
Buy the groceries. Prices are going up, don’t you think? Put that bottle of olive oil back.
Pay the therapist, the dentist, the doctor, the eye exam, the school lunches (such crap!), the camps, the crafts.
Pay it all.
Take a moment to lie on the sofa.
Glass of wine on the floor nearby that you hope is out of the path of the kids running past.
Maybe a book in hand – yeah, it’s a nice thought.
Place a hand on your belly.
Fill it with breath down to your depths.
Then ride it back up.
A breath of light, a breath to begin again.
And know this:
You are doing it. You are doing well.
Better than well. Your heart is shining through. I can feel it from here.
Out and About….
I visit Jen and am filled with joy for her new venture. I concur with my friend Rebecca’s musings about Osama bin Laden and the surreal reactions to it all. And this beautiful post from the newly discovered Walking on My hands. Also, I can’t get the show “Pregnant in Heels”, which I watched at the gym this week (a summary of which is here), out of my head; the clueless, selfish soon-to-be-mothers were so disturbingly sad.