I want to feel packed in
the weight of feet of snow
the heaviness of the moist granules
gnashing at my skin
an unfit wrapping for its interior
I want to feel suffocated
breath constricted in my chest
fingers laced around my neck
reaching across its expanse
anxiety building until
r e l e a s e
Monday, July 14, 2014
I’ve been thinking a great deal about motherhood lately. About my own mother, my grandmother who raised me, and even myself as a mother. About its essence, its challenges, and its victories. About my oldest, recently 18, who moved out of my home only to return weeks later (to my relief). About my youngest, recently 13, who strikes a fragile balance between wisdom beyond her years and naïveté of one much younger (to my consternation). My reflection has led me to many conclusions, one of which is motherhood comes with a lot of . . .
How can I put this delicately?
Well, it comes with a lot of stupid shit.
1. Being a mother makes me special.
Nearly ¾ of American women have children, according to Gallup. Now, I may not be a math whiz, but how does being part of the super-super-majority make one exceptional? This is not to say that being a capable mother is easy or trivial, but the state of motherhood is in itself the norm.
2. My children are not average.
Average is, by definition, calculated using the sum total. Every child is exceptional in some ways . . . and unexceptional in others. So, stop entering the Mom-Judging Olympics and let our kids grow up, savoring success and failure equally. We may discover that even an “average” child is precious.
3. My children are my life.
The experience of caring for an infant alters our perspectives: changing soiled diapers, aspirating snotty nostrils, even producing life-sustaining nutrients from our bosoms. However, infancy is a temporary state—12 months to be exact. The average American woman lives approximately 85 years. The average American woman also births 2 children. Theoretically, those children achieve a certain level of independence by 18. Even if a woman chooses to wait to conceive one child after the other is 18, less than half of her life is spent in so-called “active motherhood.” Yet many women focus all of their energy on their children. They abandon their social lives. They even put significant others on the back burner. There is no doubt that capable mothers should make personal sacrifices for their children, but part of being a role model is exemplifying what it means to be a whole person.
4. Being a mother makes me a complete woman.
I have a friend lucky enough to have found her significant other early in life, along with a career that suits her well. She’s a consummate professional, and one of the most caring people I’ve ever met in my life. And, she is completely at peace with planning her future sans children.
I can just imagine the confused faces and concerned body language she maneuvers in idle conversations beginning with “So when are you going to have a baby?”. While choosing to be childless is becoming more common in the US, it’s still a societal expectation to couple and then procreate (if not at least the other way around).
Good god, how could it be that an intelligent, modern woman live a fulfilling life without birthing bundles of joy?
I suppose we could just leave it up to those intelligent, modern women to decide.
THE FINE PRINT: This post is in no way a damnation of mothers, motherhood, or children. I like most moms and most children. I even love my own. So, calmly remove the stick from your posterior if its contents enraged you.
Thursday, July 10, 2014
"trial by fire"
a weary cliche
But much more vibrant
in first person
The sting of the flame
But most fail to acknowledge
the true test
Once all is built back up and tucked in place
the broken glass swept away
the sooty surfaces wiped clean
then the pressure mounts
Then those things that don't have mass or form
are eaten away
But one that is cold and invisible
One that licks the wounds
nobody cares to see