I love my babies.
This may come as a shock to you, fair reader, but I am a mother. Most days, I’m shocked. My shock is quite boundless, but its real estate includes my incredulousness about:
2. Food consumption
(I could go on with this list, but then I just might curl into a ball and rock, overwhelmed with what seems like another “to do” list.)
I’ve been meaning to cobble together a blog since my twin girls were born. That was 5 years ago. I had fantasies that I would bring forth poetic, tear-inducing prose unveiling all the deepest, most profound wisdom and truth only found in the day-to-day, moment-to-moment, instant-to-instant bliss of perfect motherhood.
It sort of didn’t quite go this way.
There have been tears, some theirs and some mine.
I should back up a bit. Understand that when I was trying to get pregnant and then, when I was finally pregnant, I entertained this fanciful idea that I could just strap my children on and go- ANYWHERE! Somehow, the image in my head really didn’t match how reality would play out. My imagination omitted truly crucial details, like the fact there would not be just one, but two. It’s different on a variety of levels, but the most immediate of which is the practical/ logistical.
Ultimately, I underestimated the extent to which these “practical/ logistical” details would reshape my life. The moms I saw on the street seemed to fit their kids into their busy lives: strollers parked casually alongside a chatty woman and her companion(s) enjoying a casual cup of coffee, a mom out jogging with her sleeping, compliant baby, moms and kids at the playground, etc.
Coffee. I have that in common with these women.
But for me, I had a somewhat difficult pregnancy (although there are certainly worse), followed by an awful post-natal period, during which I was readmitted to the hospital for a raging systemic infection. During that time, my family formed the most amazing support system, as did my friends. I don’t know where I would be (or who I would be) without my best friend, my husband. I mention the difficulty posed only to highlight how the stage was set for my life- our lives- to take the path it did.
After I had the girls, it changed the way both I and my husband interacted with the world. At that time, we worked in theatre. In fact, we met late last century as actors (that’s another story for another time). As the primary caretaker of two infants, I did not find theatre to be a professional environment flexible enough to include the needs of my family. I have never been a “the show must go on” kind of girl- when it comes to the health and well-being of people. If my kids are in the hospital or one of my parents are on their deathbed, I will be out of there before anyone can think about muttering, “The show must go on.” So, not willing to compromise my professionalism by dragging along two unwitting, unpredictable infants (now small children) to events and auditions nor wanting to be absent for the upbringing of my daughters, especially when they needed me at the last minute- with fevers, with vomiting, with unforeseen emergencies- I decided to take a break from acting.
The treading of water, the circling of the wagons- however one might want to describe what happened incrementally- characterized the day-to-day demands of new parenthood. So busy with bottles, feedings, laundry, doctor visits, nap times, I no longer had hours in the day to take care of the friendships that sustained us. They didn’t have kids; we didn’t have many peers who had kids.
Did I mention we moved to the suburbs, too? Oh yeah, that too.
So, to review:
Children who have kid needs + geography issues + career changes (more on that later)= sort of lonely
Now, this is not a “woe is me” type of post, although on the surface and even a little underneath, it may seem so. But NOT so! I took actions (or inaction) that led me down a path. Yeah, it was the inaction. I started to feel as if I didn’t belong- anywhere.
But I can change this.
And when I pick up my daughters after school and they run into my arms, I know at least one place I belong.