Monday, July 12, 2010


Last week Janssen, who is about to have her first baby (or maybe has already and just hasn’t emailed me, the person who introduced her to craigslist, to let me know) wrote a post about seeing, and it has been on my mind a lot since I read it.

I can relate, in a lot of real ways, to her questions about how her children will see her and about how she will see herself once she morphs into “MOM”.

I remember being in a similar place: desperately wanting to be a mother, but at the same time not wanting to give up my identity—who I was before motherhood—and forget how to live as me. I still wanted to be able to lie on the couch and read all afternoon. I still wanted to travel. I wanted to go on walks through under-construction homes with Somebody. I still wanted to bake and craft and sing and laugh. I was determined not to lose me.

Perhaps that is what made my actual transition into motherhood so extremely difficult. Perhaps my knowledge of life on the outside made those first three months of sleep deprivation so painful. Perhaps I wouldn’t have wondered so often, “why did I want this? I hate this,” if I hadn’t felt so acutely the loss of me. It made me angry, for a long time, to look around the room and see the laundry not folded, the quilt not sewn, the book not read, the nap not taken. I, the I that existed in the time before baby, would never have let that happen.

So, here I am, 15 months later, and I can tell you for certain that Gulliver doesn’t see a college educated, determined, wannabe-professional cookie decorator when he looks at me. He doesn’t care when I’m tired or hungry. He doesn’t notice if I really don’t want to spend time outside right now because dang it’s hot. He never responds when I tell him to just shush up and listen to me because I have a masters degree and know A LOT of things that he doesn’t. What he sees, though, or at least what I hope he sees, when he looks at me is comfort. And security. And love. Hugs and kisses. Cookies and yellow balloons. I hope he forgets that he sees impatience and anger. I hope he can’t remember the times I was annoyed to have to drop what I was doing and sit on the floor to stack the blocks eighteen more times. It has become enough, right now, that he looks at me and sees just Mom. Mom. Who will pick him up and kiss his neck a million times. Who will fetch the ball and change the diaper and quack like a duck. Who had to give up parts of who she was, for now, for this short time, to teach him to climb the stairs and then rock him to sleep.

It’s a kick in the pants, this mother job. And if the only point of all my life experiences up to this point were to prepare me to be “just mom” for just him, then they were all worth it.