Monday, May 12, 2008

:: Day-After Day ::

I don't know why I didn't post yesterday. Something about it being Mother's Day just paralyzed me. I mean, talk about pressure, right? All the blogs I read were all waxing eloquent about mothers and motherhood and I just stood there staring into their eloquent, eloquent goodness going, uh, wuh?

Maybe I should just say "what she said." What she said is so nice.

Except honestly? I sort of don't see myself in this long line of mothers. I see myself in a line that starts here with me and ends with my mom, or I guess that should be vice versa. I didn't know her mom -- she died months before I was born -- and I wouldn't say there's this whole big feeling of tradition or of wisdom being passed down through the generations. I've written before about how much I learned from my own mom, and I've written a little bit about my paternal grandmother, but really I just sort of think of me and my mom and my sister as this little unit. A little wooden puzzle box.

As for motherhood, it still feels pretty new. Aside from assorted moments of clarity, it still feels like something I can't understand well enough to explain to you in a nice little post. It feels hard in a way that's not a lot of work yet. Hard in a way that's so easy. Hard in a way that requires energy but not effort. I feel like that will change and in a strange way I almost feel eager, almost feel nostalgic (even though that makes no sense) for a kind of motherhood that requires more labor in the day-to-day and not the first-day-of-your-life kind of way. The kind of motherhood that kneads and scrubs, maybe?

There's also this whole Ph.D. thing. For me, being a mom feels so tied up with the being in school thing, the dissertation writing thing, and something about all that makes me feel even more isolated as a mama. Not isolated from people but maybe isolated from people's experiences. The work I do isn't the work of washing windows and hanging laundry on a line. But of course neither is the work of most of the moms I know.

I don't know. Now that I'm writing I feel less and less sure what I mean to write. And there it is again: the paralysis. The not knowing how to explain what it means to me to be a mom, to have a mom.

Hmm. Maybe I'll go back to saying, "uh, wuh?" and then "yeah, what she said."


Janet May 12, 2008 at 5:47 PM  

I love that shot of those bright little newborn eyes peering out from the intense swaddle fortress.

Honestly? I have been mothering for almost 9 years and it often still feels new to me. It keeps changing, you see.

McSwain May 12, 2008 at 6:09 PM  

Uh, wuh? What Janet said. Motherhood is such a mystery, I can't begin to understand it. My attempts at waxing poetic about it all seem pretty silly, given the inexplicable reality of mothering.

That's a wonderful photo!

Julie May 13, 2008 at 3:47 PM  

I love that -- the swaddle fortress. HA! Yeah, he was double swaddled, I'm pretty sure -- two blankets.

The funniest part to me is that if you look closely you can see he's got a little red-eye. Didn't know brand new babies could even have devil eyes. : )

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