I am becoming a new kind of mother to these kids. I am a version of me who I have not met before. It's strange. You can't tell on the outside. You can't see it in a picture. But I am changing just as they are.
I want to always be attentive to my children, my husband and myself. I want to cook from scratch and plan exciting activities and be efficient. I want to be a better worker. I want to be a better blogger. I want to publish a children's book. I want to remember to paint their fingernails and remind them brush their teeth. I want to have clean baseboards and remember to put the toilet paper roll on the holder. I want to teach. I want to advocate for those who need me.
I want to be a better granddaughter- daughter-sister-wife-mother-me.
I want to pick up all the clothes off the floor. I want to enroll them in gymnastics and read books to them all the time. I want to fill out all the paperwork and forms on time. I want to save enough money to retire and send them off to college if they want to go. I want to remember to clean off the the coffee ring next to the computer.
But I have to stop wanting. Because I cannot be the mother I want to be. Because the mother I want to be is not who I am. I never have been that person.
Last month, I found myself standing inside of my life not knowing if I had anymore steps in me to take in the direction I was going. My feet felt muddy. My focus was blurry at best and I had no idea how to snap out of it. Actually, I'm not out of it yet. It's cyclical. It's predictable. I saw it coming from a mile away and yet I still didn't have the energy to side-step the fallout.
Things start to quietly pile up higher and higher. I drop away many many things and attempt to focus on presence. The words won't come and then they come in floods. They don't come because there are too many to sort through. But then one breaks through and it all comes at once. The flood.
The flood releases me and last night in the town Target, the flood came. Not the best timing. But whatever.
I'm enough. Dammit, I am enough.
The mother that I am is enough. Partly because she has to be so that I am myself. I was buried when I became a mother. I did it happily and with ease. I did it because I was grateful for finally realizing my dream. It was a conscious choice that I would make again. I am not ashamed of that. I am proud of the mother I was for my infants and toddlers. Damn proud.
But it came with a cost. Pulling the other versions of me back out after five years is proving difficult and consuming and creating all of this doubt. I have all the questions and only a few answers. Trying to un-bury yourself is wild work.
And then, it kept coming, yep, still in the middle of freaking Target, I wonder...
Did I romanticize who I was? Is my mirror of the past a highlight reel just like how I conveniently forgot how hard those first few weeks of mothering were? Do I look back on my pre-child self and see only the strength, road trips, making out in bars and spontaneity but none of the heartbreak and fear?
Then I'm staring at the pink-est, tiniest little dress you have ever seen...
Should the goal be to not go back and dig up but to walk forward and look straight ahead? Should I leave "her" behind me and just be who I am right now? What in the hell is wrong with who you are right now?