Thursday, July 3, 2008

Observations from the Mother Deck

There are a myriad of moments to mothering. Frustrating, fun, manic and moving, they all crash into one another like so many multicolored marbles.

Of late, my own mothering moments have been shaped by my recovery from PPD, moving and the subsequent journey of self discovery. As I often, and sometimes painfully, examined my own moments, I became an avid observer from the Mother Deck of others. From glimpses and glances I began to construct a clearer picture of this job, this calling, this thing of being a mom.

Ronald Reagan had a foreign policy of 'peace through strength'. Some mothering moments are only possible after a display of a deep seated and almost epic source of strength. It only manifests in battles both won and lost.

As I left my Peep Jamie in her hospital room, I witnessed one of those moments of peace only gotten through strength. She lost as many battles as she won in her journey to deliver her miracle J.B. As I quietly exited her room, I saw a look of peace on her face only partly from the post-Cesarean narcotics. She stared at him on her lap, asking me, herself and God, "How did I get so lucky to have him? I would do it all again in a heartbeat to have him." She meant it. What is it about a mother that we forget the pain, the heartache-the blood, sweat and tears on the way as long as the destination is good? It took a deep strength for Jamie to endure the long years of disappointment and pain on the way to this little grunty bundle. He was worth it.

It is that strength I call on to get through this move. To over come fully the PPD, to gain the freedom to be. To be the mother, woman, wife, sister, daughter and friend I was created to be. To have peace even when I have to be strong.

Another moment occurred last night. We were out late. Dinner and shopping got us home far past the baby's bedtime. He was wailing in fatigue. The car was packed with bags, the five year old was running around in joy because Star Wars was on, the dog was barking hello and the fridge had no room for groceries. It was the definition of chaos.

In the midst, NaNa was a bastion of mothering bliss. The baby only needed a quick face wash, jammies and a bottle. I didn't think he would tolerate any more on the way to bed. As soon as she got him upstairs I heard the opposite of the expected howls. I heard belly laughs.

I peeked into the bathroom. My five year old was naked and explaining to NaNa how you have to flush after you pee and aim for the water so it makes the tinkle sound. The baby was in her arms splashing his feet in the sink, now full of water. He was happily munching on the soap until I replaced it with a dixie cup. His red rimmed eyes were now crinkled into a smile as he looked in the mirror at his grandmother. Still in dress clothes, NaNa was smiling too, exhausted from a long day at work and an even longer night shopping with two kids and a daughter in law. They were all in their element. The children were happy to be splishing and splashing. NaNa was happy to be giving of her last iota of energy to care for these little miracles in front of her. It was beautiful to see the complete example of joyful, in the moment, mothering.

My moment now? A stinky dog at my feet. A nearly 5 year old slurping his thumb in a vain attempt to avoid a desperately needed nap. A peacefully slumbering baby. A warm laptop under my wrists.

Oh, me? I'm unexpectedly content. Surprisingly, at peace. And only a little late to get the laundry out of the washer.

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