Monday, November 01, 2004

Baby Kicks, Detours and Stuff in Between

Tonight, I stretched out next to YoungestBoy and read him a long library book. I had a sudden flash of nostalgia for those days when I could feel a baby squirming inside. How I loved being pregnant. After so many years of infertility, the shock of tiny in utero knocks always delighted me. Always.

When I was pregnant, for the first time ever, I admired my body. Instead of hating the imperfect contours of my body, I found myself in awe of my body's functions. I stroked my swelling belly--which before I'd always despised because it was never flat. Ever. Now, I adored my round stomach. When I could feel the baby swirl around and hiccup, I exulted in my participation in a miracle.

How can you not want to participate in a miracle as often as possible? I totally understand those women who repeat this experience over and over again. But even if I had a choice, I'm not sure I would make the choice to be open to unlimited pregnancies. Maybe I'm selfish--though God knows, that isn't an easy state in which to remain when one is a mother--but I do hope to have a life beyond my children.

I see myself as the planet and my children as my orbiting moons. It seems like some mothers function more like the chocolate shell on a dipped cone. Their ice cream children melt and they are a pointless, broken shell. The children are the center and somehow, when the children grow-up, those moms are empty. Of course, this is entirely speculation since I am in the midst of the chaos of child-rearing and having an empty nest sounds appealing. (I know, Suzanne, is probably making a clucking sound right now at my short-sightedness. I should probably sit on my hands and quit pontificating.)

I want to read an entire novel during the daytime, but beyond that, I have private dreams and aspirations that do not involve my status as a mother. I once said that being a stay-at-home mother is not what I am, it's what I do. I don't define myself by my day-to-day activities, but by my internal self, the part of me that thinks and daydreams and reads and observes. That's the part of me which is often drowned out by the noise in my household and by the row after row of demands. That's the part that stays up late at night.

As I approach forty (in January--send gifts!), I wonder about my life in a few years. Will I school the boys for the next six years? Will they go back into public school? Will I go back to school and pursue a career? Will I forfeit the satisfaction of a much-dreamed of career for a job that merely pays the bills instead? Will I ever write for publication? Will the laundry all be clean and put away on the same day? Or will the laundry baskets always overflow? And why, oh why, do Goldfish crackers crumble into a thousand pieces when they are crunched into the carpet?

In a way, I've never felt like the mastermind behind my own life. Obstacles have determined my course more than anything else, obstacles like available jobs for my husband, my dad's death, our infertility, money woes, my children's learning issues. It's as if I'm a Pac-Man, working my way through the maze, not heading the direction of my choosing, but scurrying away from monsters who will eat me in a quest for fruit (magic pills?) which will keep me safe for a moment.

Does anyone fully feel like the controller of their own destiny? Do people actually live lives according to a grand plan? Am I the only one without a road map? Do some people get to fill in the blanks and not just pick between "A", "B", or "C"?

(I just realized that I sound like an atheist. I believe God has a plan for my life, but sometimes, just occasionally, I wish He would give me a road-map so I could pack adequately for the journey. I don't think that's too much to ask.)

I also think that perhaps learning to enjoy the ride, especially the so-called detours, is probably the point of all of this. After all, if you never leave the freeway, you never experience the worlds' best drive-in and other joys on streets where the speed limit is 30 miles per hour.


Blogger Eyes said...

Okay. This is bizarre. Bear with me. I can't explain it.

I have always felt like an old soul. An old soul who lived before, who reared many children, who lived a tough life -- and never managed to get it right.

With that, I have always had this feeliing that I came back (don't ask me, I'm not religious) to enjoy this life. To get it right -- **one last time**. And I believe I have. I have set out to accomplish things, have setup grand plans -- and I have reached them all before I am 40. I'm kinda scared about what I am going to do for the next half of my life because I am happy, content and fullfilled over all.

I've told my family a gazillion times, this is my last visit -- though I don't believe in past lives. It's just a feeling I have that I can't rationalize or make sense of.

I don't believe in reincarnation though my name (this is a big one -- translates as "reborn"). Go figure! It's just a deep, deep feeling within that doesn't make sense.

So yes, people do live their lives going from point to point -- all planned out. I am one of them. Not that it is good, bad or otherwise. It's just who I am...

7:56 AM  
Blogger Judy said...

I wish I had more kids.

Rearing them is to date the most enjoyable thing I have done with my life. It was hard. I got tired. I yelled A LOT. We were poor. But, strangly, that isn't at all what they remember.

They remember that on Friday night we got pizza, lit candles, and sat together on a blanket to watch TGIF.
They remember that they each had a 'day to be first' which rotated every 3 days. On your day to be first, you got to go on errands, sit in the front seat, have the first piece, have me read to everyone from your bed...
They remember that I once threw a chair. But, I swear, I didn't throw it. I just picked it up for emphasis, and half of it sailed across the room. Really. That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.
They remember that they could tell us anything. They didn't, but they knew they could.
They remember that every October for 21 years we have taken a snap shot of everybody in front of the duck pond at the zoo. We just did that Sunday. This year there are two new additions in the form of a daughter-in-law and a son-in-law.

I really wish I had at least 3 more.

I hope you do write that book, Mel.

2:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why not just be happy for what God gave you and shut up for a while! Did you know there was a war on and plenty of women are losing their children every day. How about grabbing yours, thanking God, and stop whining!

7:47 PM  

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