I’ve written before about the importance of not being too invested in the “highs” of mothering, about how mothers clinging steadfast (or frantically) to the feelings of “success” is unwise, not fruitful, not empowering. It’s an unkind thing to do to yourself, really, to let your sense of self worth hang on standards that are dictated by absurd mothering standards at one end, or your children’s ridiculous and naïve standards at the other, or false but no less sensationalized images of motherhood that surround us at the other (and yes, this continuum has three ends. Just go with it). I do think that this is so very important, and so very very difficult. So I want to write today without losing sight of this.
I’d like to invoke the memory and/or recognition of how sometimes, it just works. Sometimes, it’s easy. Sometimes, it just flows. I want to sit down to that, chew on that, taste that. With a little relish, and for just a few moments. I mean look, I’ve been dragged through it as a mother. Slammed doors, cops, crushed morale, total disregard, collusion, lies, eye rolls, hospitals, perceived judgment from my peers, actual judgment from my peers, insensitive demands from the people I work for, taxing demands from the people I live with, dinners dinners dinners, the relentlessness of it all. But then every once in a while. Every once in a while, it isn’t hard. These may be minutes, swiftly fleeting, or they may be waves, larger and slower but ebbing and flowing. Or they may be the lingering kind. Right now, I am in the greatest space with both of my kids that I can remembering being in. My relationship with both of them is just so genuine and so lovely. So easy. I feel loved and valued, they seem to feel loved and valued. They seem to really like each other. And I’d just like to say a big hell yes to all that because jeez louise I could really use me some love and value. It’s hard to let those things come from within all the time; it’s hard to find them down deep in there. It’s pretty crowded down there, for one thing, all that trash and used up stuff that really needs to be let go. Dusty, moldy, and broken like it is. You know what I mean.
So I am feeling grateful for these moments when I can see evidence that I’ve done right by my children and when I am nourished simply by the fact that they are good and beautiful human beings. And I know this because they are being good and beautiful people right here before my eyes. And they are loving me and laughing with me and thanking me. And I am appreciative of the fact that we are having these blissful moments despite the complexity of the world that surrounds us, and despite our own inner conflicts, and despite the tensions that arise between us because of them. I’m especially thankful of these moments because I think they come hard to some families, like, for example, “blended” families (the image invoked by the word ‘blend’ being clearly misleading), where things are more cobbled than blended. Hobbled, maybe even. Or maybe decoupage is a better metaphor—bits and pieces pasted on top of each other and then shellacked so that the whole seems smooth. And whole. And like you meant it to look that way. Families where there is a longing, a yearning for something that isn’t quite this, at best, and totally unthis, at worst. And surely this isn’t only, or necessarily, the case with “blended” families. When moments of simple and easy love are able to surface in “blended” and other complicated families, it sure is a warm and tasty thing. So I’d like to close my eyes…and just savor it….