Over a month since my last post. I don’t know what’s up with that. Well, I sort of do. Thank god no one but my parents and sister read this blog! After vacation there was a rush to prepare for the new school year. Mitzi in first grade, Cooper in kindergarten, Ellie in preschool. A lot to focus on. Writing? What’s that?
So, the enormity of what to write on this blog about being a Mom. Shall I discuss the loss I feel and the simultaneous pride in Mitzi’s fearless venture into full-time, big kid days of first grade? Or the confusion with Cooper’s sullen and silent kindergarten experience, full of both friends and success and secrecy? Of Ellie’s ease into preschool, with complete sentences, printing letters and words, and this-is-who-she-is-on-her-own indpendence? The new mornings of Joanna and I, alone in the house or on errands, strange to each other, shy and awkward, like new lab partners in tenth grade biology?
Or do I wax poetic on the smothering anxiety I try to swallow every day, floored by my reality — how did I get here? The feeling that I am an imposter, that at any moment I will be asked for ID, a high school student in a downtown bar, with nothing but a poorly crafted laminated license in my pocket. Yes, I am not who I say I am. I have no right to be here. That soon I will be found out — you are no grownup! You are no Mommy! How dare you purport to guide and prepare these children for FUTURE? The choking anxiety watching other parents who seem so at ease and confident and mature, not only ready but willing to adorn the mantel of parenthood that weighs so heavily on my shoulders. Am I like them? Are they like me?
I am thisclose to buying a pack of cigarettes, certain that smoking will ground me, remind me of who I am, what I can do. Inhaling, I will remember: I am a writer, a poet, certainly a poor role model full of insecurities, doubts and demons that never really leave me, no matter how many lunches I pack, no matter how many orange slices I ready for sunny soccer games (How dare I parent these babies?)
This new Me, a mommy of four, scares me. I don’t really know who she is, what she can do, where her flaws are. And is this all I can be, should be, want to be?
Questions so large I haven’t been able to blog since summer vacation, when at least the sun and sand and low expectations allowed me the freedom to shirk my responsibilities, to return to a simpler world where I didn’t have to be the grownup, and didn’t have to know what “being the grownup” means. We lounged and ate and slept, we played games and enjoyed, and didn’t worry about calendars and homework, lunches and playdates, conferences and committee meetings.
Do you know what it means to be the grownup? Can you tell me?
So I avoid the writing, the questions, lose myself in reruns of CSI and a glass of wine (or two or three), and envy those who jump, who risk.
I try to breathe deeply, to relinquish a desire for control over my spinning world. My dad, in his daily recovery as an alcoholic, reminds me of the brevity of life. He sends in emails quotes from Buddha and daily meditations. His anxiety is not unlike my own, I think. I try to learn from his pain, to benefit from his road, all the while wondering if I will succumb to the same fears, temptations, regardless of what I have witnessed. Regardless of the genetics, the hand-me-down addictions.
Then Ray comes home, late from an evening of work and professional experience. Ray, who helps me ground myself as much as smoking or drinking, jagged edges notwithstanding. I am not perfect; he is not perfect; I breathe and let the imperfections be. Ray does not tell me about myself or my current condition; Ray allows me to be, wherever, whenever however I am. A dialogue begun, certain to continue. So I rise from my computer-facing folding chair, save this entry, and return to the things I need to do.
And pray that tomorrow the sun will rise clear and sure.