Friday, November 9, 2007

This helps explains it... a little

I was poking around the reading lists of other bloggers and found this title on I'm a Drama Mama's blog. She is reading a book on motherhood. I know that is surprising on a mom blog, but there it is. Six years after having my first child I am still trying to figure out what it means to be a mother. Who I am in light of it and if that is all I am since being submersed in the lives of my children and our home. I am often looking for someone who just might have the answers to all my pondering. So I followed the link to Amazon.

Well the description of the book did not make me think it had the answers I am seeking. Probably those are inside of me. OH well to that. But someone did write a review which made me stop. The reader was quoting from the introduction of the book A Life's Work by Rachel Cusk. The reader actually said that she found the introduction worth the price of the book and that she spent most of her time rereading it rather than reading the whole text.

This is the quote that got my attention:

"Another person has existed in her, and after their birth they live within the jurisdiction of her consciousness. When she is with them she is not herself; when she is without them she is not herself; and so it is as difficult to leave your children as it is to stay with them."

From the introduction to A Life's Work: On Becoming a Mother.

Really Cusk has succinctly explained the catch 22 of motherhood. I can't send them back cause they are a part of me. I can not imagine my children not being anymore than I can imagine the end of my existence. There is part of me that longs for the clean identity of my childless state. I was not schizophrenic. All my parts were apart of me... attached and controlled by me. Now I have these three little beings that originated from my body... used my body to grow from the tiniest cell to beautiful squirming creatures with my eyes and my hair and my shortcomings. And they can walk away from me. And I can walk away from them. A part of me in the other room watching Sponge Bob, (Not really we don't like SB here but its a good image) or at school having an 8 hour life apart from me. 8 hours I have no idea what happens in.

Never again can I be me alone. But always there is the consciousness of a need, a care, a concern a vulnerability for something apart from me. Parenting disallows selfishness that is for sure. Not that people do not try to maintain a me-centered existence, children just have more staying power. Why, because they need us so much. We are the center of their existence. Parents at least have memories of a time before but not so for children. We are their anchors and foundations. My son can not imagine ever leaving home. Leaving me or his Daddy is just alien to him. He says he is not going to college because he is never leaving. When we talk about a time when he will live alone it is like we are kicking him out and he will never be welcome here again. It sounds like punishment to him. But he will grow to want just that and to begin his journey of individuality or singleness. Until he gives it up for that bundle of pure love that enters his life by way of a miracle. He might have it easier as a man... I really wish that were not the case and maybe it isn't. But I have to believe that pregnancy and childbirth are the clinchers that cause mothers to be caught in the dilemma of identity and becoming a mother.

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