I was talking to a new friend tonight about life, and most particularly, family life...about the absolute power of the love of a child, and how it transforms your whole existance, and how there really aren't words to describe the love you feel when you create a human being of your own (with a little help from God, of course.) It's all consuming.
I have loved the newness of mommyhood so very much. I have dedicated my life to being a mother, from the moment we threw the birth control pills away, almost seven years ago. It seemed like such a small, natural step. One that millions of people take every year, when they hitch up their big girl panties and decide to take the plunge into parenthood. I couldn't know. How could I have known? That that small act of faith would turn into a more than two year odyssey through infertility, surgery, needles, tests, and the rollercoaster of hope and tragedy, far to close on each other's heels.
Sitting amist the chaos of family life, with scattered toys and piled laundry, with my one high- tech baby and my wonderfully "free" baby (neither more a miracle than the other), sleeping blissfully in their beds, that rollercoaster seems to belong to someone else's life. It seem so very far away, and doesn't even seem to make much sense when one sees the fecundity of our present. But just touching on the story with someone who doesn't know reminds me of the unseen part. Nothing is as it appears. If you get to know someone well enough, you will see that very little is how it seems.
Just as I hesitated before jumping into parenting (almost 7 months...past when my dear husband was ready-to-go....so arbitrary, looking back...) I hesitate to let it the intensity of baby-parenting go. I realize that my children are separating from me. Their independence grows each day, and I am reminded of Scot's mantra: "Our only job is to make them independent." Now, there are tons of cliches, (some even written on t-shirts) that deal with parents letting go. I'm sure they all have merit. But when you are loosening your grip on what has defined you for almost a decade, cliches ring a bit hollow. I wouldn't have made it through infertility if it hadn't been for my tenacity. Now, I battle that same tenacity as I try to pry the "me" out of mommy.
I want to find out who I am again, outside of being defined by my role as a parent. Just lately, I am remembering that I am a performer. A singer. An actress, and some might even say, a bit of a diva. That feels good. Familiar. Comfortable. Like putting on an old coat and finding that it still fits. I'm also a student. And, as in the past, still a darned good one.
As I grow along with my children, I marvel at my ability to wear different hats, and how liberating that feels. To stay up late rehearsing a show, but come home just a little too fast down the interstate, hoping to make it in time for tucking in. Is this what is meant by balance? I always scoffed at the idea. I guess I wasn't ready. I wanted and needed to do nothing but mommy my children after fighting so hard for them. But, as they grow and life adapts, I embrace balance. It's ok. It's healthy. Keep reminding me of that, ok?