The Mother Chronicles
Growing up, I don't recall it really crossing my mind much that I would be a mother when I grew up
I mean, of course I knew it was an option down the road, but it wasn't what I was going to strive to be when I grew up.
I had plans to be an archaeologist. But I became disillusioned when I would hear about all of the discoveries of artifacts, long lost cities and civilizations.
I figured that it would all be discovered before I would have a chance to dig in, so I gave up on that idea.
There were many options open, during the time I was coming of age.
Briefly, I wondered about the long term job security there might be in bra burning---
Realized that it was an under-appreciated career path, and let that go too...
Then there were the old default types of careers, popular for women---teaching, nursing, etc.
Those didn't appeal to me, so as I made my way through college, majoring anyway in education, I still was looking for that which would really make my heart happy.
It was oh so popular during the 70's to put down motherhood, I don't recall doing that myself, but it was more than an undercurrent---the put down was there.
Many viewed motherhood as something women did who had nothing better to do, or something that women did when they couldn't compete in the work place.
Women were supposed to do MORE than simply raise children..and be home---lazy, poor self esteem, and unskilled---were some of the terms I recall being bandied about to categorize women who chose motherhood.
I thought about motherhood, again briefly, but I was busy leading a life, not as a teacher, making a decent living, and enjoying being a part of the millions who called New York City home, although I was ascaredy cat and lived in one of the boroughs of New York City...
I did what other women did, went to upscale East Side clubs, or bars, did the Brunch in the City thing, took a share in a summer house out in the Hamptons---
I enjoyed it all.
It wasn't until around the time I got married in 1982 that it began to hit me---I did want to bring children into this world.
Other women were doing it, why shouldn't I?
I figured that if I wanted it, it would be.
But that wasn't so, at least not for a long time.
I'll spare you the blow by blow account of the years it took to become a mother, the heartache, the jealousy, the fear, the self doubt and the misery---
It's all a "story" anyway---real and true----but the energy of the "story" is the theme, so I won't do it. It's not important anyway.
Years and years later, through nothing short of a miracle, divine intervention and stubbornness---I found myself pregnant with twins.
I had no fears about pregnancy---until I almost lost the pregnancy twice, at critical times during gestation.
Then, it became a daily battle, to hold onto the growing life within me----a battle between my body and my will.
My will won out in the end...
They came into this world too early, but their wills were strong too.
Both were in the hospital for a long time and with each passing day, they revealed their spirits, despite their tiny bodies.
I was so fearful before they came home from the hospital, wondering what had I gotten myself into this time?
While the time has blurred the day by day stuff that went on back then, many key experiences remain forever etched in my heart.
I remember the first time one of my son's laughed. I had both of my boys in individual swings in the family room and I sat on the floor in front of them, touching their toes as they swung towards me.
As usual, one of my sons was wide awake and the other had nodded off in the swing.
I began to play with my son, taking a roly poly Mickey Mouse thing and moving it towards him as his body moved towards me---then I moved it back.
I didn't know at first what I was seeing, his belly was moving and there was a change to his smile, and his mouth was opening wider, with each move of the Mickey Mouse towards him. This went on for about a half hour or so.
Then it happened.
He laughed out loud---THAT was what I was witnessing the birth of----- as his belly was moving----as his smile was changing---and as his mouth was opening!
The birth of laughter!
Yesterday, I was spending some moments with one of my sons---he has towered over me since he was 8, and I looked up at his face, as he was telling me of his plan for an April Fool's joke on a friend.
I could see his smile growing----- I could see his eyes twinkling----- I could see the dimples in his grown up cheeks---- I could see his belly begin to move and I could hear the mirth in his voice.
I could see that little baby laughing for the first time, I could see that baby crawling away from me---laughing, toddling around smiling---I could see it all, in those moments. As his plans spilled out, so did the laughter and joy.
I realized last night, right before I fell asleep that no matter what I do with my life, the path of motherhood that I had chosen, WAS what I had wanted to be when I grew up.
I don't care if it defines me---
It IS who I am.