I’m halfway done! Congratulations to me! Now, I just have one question. When do I get my brain back? Anyone?
We’re now in the pleasant middle stretch; I’ve gotten into stride for the most part. It’s hard to tell between muscle twitch or movement
sometimes, but I’m pretty certain I’ve finally gotten to that point as well. Stupidity is my biggest complaint at the moment, and it’s
serious. A fog has descended over my brain. What I even remember to do is done with a frightening lack of accuracy. Baby has turned out to be every bit as camera shy as Mom, but we’ll see if next week brings any news. We keep hearing “probably” girl, but I hate to call it for sure until we’ve actually seen something.
Meanwhile, I’m just trying to enjoy this phase without stressing about too much, at least for a week or two. It’s my favorite time of year, where everything is green and rainy but the mountains still have caps of snow. The lilacs will bloom, soon! We have warmth and cool, and possibly only a few week’s break between winter cold and summer heat. What a joy that will be!
I’m relieved to focus on other things for a while, such as: wishing you all a Happy Mothers’ Day. When I say “Mother” I mean those like my beautiful Mom, above, and all the women out there who celebrate their inherent capacity to nurture others and who help whatever they touch to grow. I’m talking about crazy aunts, best friends, educators, healing scientists, authors, etc. I’ve met lots of you in lots of
places, and I owe you the deepest gratitude, particularly for your example. Because of your efforts, my life has deeper purpose and
I was raised on the concept of traditional family, which for me provided a positive sense of direction in life. I want to be part of
that powerful legacy of mothering. However, I don’t accept the overly sanctified vision of the flawless mother in the ideal family, mostly because neither of those exist. Also because there will come a moment when each of us who buys into it realizes how short of that measure we fall in some way, and run the risk of being crippled by despair. I’ve seen this sadly often in my own childhood home.
Still, I believe that each of us striving toward many of those goals in our own way leads us to become better than we could be otherwise. It just works best if you don’t try to do it all, or all at once. Easier said than accomplished. I have less physically to cope with at the moment, but my brain is becoming more and more absent and my heart more vulnerable, just as my focus is turning to what happens after the next 4-5 months. Am I ready for this? I suppose I won’t ever be completely ready because I don’t know yet what to expect. At least, I know I have the right intentions, and great support from many directions. I feel I’m in the right place.
I will quickly share two treasured experiences that have pushed me to face Mothering With Confidence. I was working as a missionary in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and experiencing a kind of personal crisis, namely one of those moments of crippling despair and inadequacy. I expressed some of my doubts to the man directing missionary efforts in that part of the state, and was reminded in turn of the many family members I had who were praying for my success as I worked there and beyond, from my immediate family to generations past to the children and grandchildren I was yet to have. This reminder turned my thoughts to my mother, the harrowing challenges I had seen her face through my life, and to the person she had become as a result. Was she perfect? No. But she had a heart that was always willing to love, accept, and reassure. Because she had been hurt, she knew how to comfort. I decided that if enduring that time was what it took to be like her, to offer what I hoped to give to others, I would do it.
So I tried my best to move forward and give of myself and then came home to face the rest of my life. Enter another despairing moment. It was a late night, and I was lying in bed, thinking of all that still needed to happen. Where would I find work? What would I study? Was I going to be married, or not? What if I was? Would I be happy? Would I be a good mother? It was all so much and seemed so urgent. I prayed and prayed for comfort and was surprised when the answer came so quickly.
I dreamed that night of my first experiences with a new baby. The first time we met, I realized I was holding her incorrectly. When we
brought her home, my dream husband and I had just moved, and boxes were everywhere. My family had come to stay with us and help unpack. We all sat on the couch and talked and laughed together, mostly about how our new girl still had no name. Finally, she grew tired. For what seemed like a real life hour, I tried to rock her and shush my family, looking through boxes for her pajamas. We fell asleep together in a recliner in another room. When I woke up, she had peed all over us both. Okay, bathtime! I got her undressed and into the bathtub before I realized I had never cleaned it after the move. My mother held her as I scrubbed and disinfected obsessively. Just as I was ready to put her back in, she peed again in the water. The most striking part of the dream was how calm and happy I felt, in the middle of the chaos and as I made so many silly mistakes. It didn’t matter; I kept moving on to the next thing. I loved watching how aware and smart my baby was, and talking and explaining the world to her. Everything would be fine. The confidence was coming from around and not inside me, but it quieted my heart and left me feeling peaceful in the morning.
I wish we all allowed ourselves that peace more often. I’m wishing it for all of you, in all your nurturing efforts. Let’s all live in the
season and the spirit of new life and growth in the world right now. This is a beautiful time to celebrate and simply be.