I stared at the screen and struggled to wrap my heart around it. It did not fit me anymore. I tried to write on the blog that once was but it felt like it belonged to a woman that once was. It was beautiful; it was pristine. It was perfectly styled and classically cursive. Scrolling led to images worthy of social media virality. There was so much cooking and entertaining and traveling; there were clothes and flower arrangements and baked goodies. I scoffed at the blog, at the woman. Out of jealousy, perhaps? Or nostalgia? Both, probably.
My days now consist of changing nappies, cleaning up baby food, and pushing a pram. I wake up to a baby that wants to be picked up and it is non-stop action from there. By the time I put him to sleep, it is time to be a wife and cook and clean…
The truth is I am deathly nervous. It’s been a while; it’s been so long since I last sat down alone with my thoughts. Listen, writing is not easy. It’s like a wrestling match in my head. I’m in the ring trying to pin down each fleeting memory, each sacred moment. Sometimes I find myself literally banging my head on the table, forcing a word, a sentence out. Or I close my eyes and place my hands over them to block out everything around me so that I can feel the entirety of the thought. It’s easier not to write; it’s easier to say I can just live through it all…
This is the second time I've committed the grave sin of allowing dust to gather on this space. There is so much to say, so much to remember. But there is very little of me to write it all down, to build castles of paragraphs. It's not laziness, I've realized. It's guilt. I shouldn't be staring at my laptop and pounding on the keyboard; I should be caressing the face of my son, carrying him every single moment, singing him nursery songs. I should hold my life instead of write about it.
I look at him again. I've got it all wrong. His presence in my life -- his bold, perpetual presence -- must rouse me, not inhibit me. If I truly love him, I must pull out the best of me and stash the worst of me away. For there is a tiny tot that looks up to silly old me, asking me to show him the way in this mystifying world. I don't even know how to navigate it myself. But maybe writing will help. It should. It did before. It always does.
So here's to the words that will do me a service, to the act that makes sense of all the contours and challenges, to the art that captures the beauty of a boy, of a family, of motherhood.
May I never give up on it.
And may you never give up on me. Thank you for your unwavering patience, for waiting for my thoughts to become words.
If I could write a letter to my pregnant self, here's what I would say...
Dear First Time Mom,
Let me tell you the truth: motherhood is laced with idyllic stories and tempting fantasies. I'm looking at you now, your 8-month pregnant self, belly rounded with life and your head full of those half-truths. You're dreaming about wrapping your son in his muslin blankets, planning out his monthly birthdays, shopping for his stylish organic rompers. You're spending so much time looking at swimming trunks online, little shoes and backpacks for all his adventures. You wonder what toys and books and Disney movies you'll introduce to him first. You and your husband are brimming with excitement as this new chapter is finally within your horizon.
But let me hold your hand, Deanne. Let me show you the realness, the rawness of it all.