Making sense

Anne Lamott, on writing ...

"We are a species that needs and wants to understand who we are. Sheep lice do not seem to share this longing, which is one reason why they write so little. But we do. We have so much we want to say and figure out.”

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

2012 ~ Mommy train never stops

It was the best of times (MacDowell residency); it was the worst of times (Mom died).
When Mom died in March, my heart broke into eighteen pieces. When I traveled, alone, to New Hampshire, late September, for twenty-four days of colony bliss, my heart began to mend. At MacDowell, inside Mixter Studio, I had glorious hours of uninterrupted writing and thinking time. Time for reflection. Time for healing.
Early November, my beloved aunt, my mom's only sibling, died. Some of those bandaged heart wounds opened again.
It's been a tough year all 'round. Estee, my oldest (27) experienced numerous health scares and surgeries. She lives with me and her dad, and so every pain, whimper and moan, pre- and post-surgical, was up close and personal. When an adult child is sick and in my presence, my mommy anxiety kicks in and the relationship reverts to that of a parent/fifth grader. Not healthy for either of us. This child, a new B.A. English graduate (and therefore a barista at Starbucks), is desperate to move out so she can feel "like an adult," only she doesn't have the money to make it so.
Ryan, my middle (24), struggled to complete his thesis, which at times kicked his ass twelve different ways. Lots of anguished phone calls, double-downed pep talks. My youngest, Elizabeth, started her first semester at a small Mennonite college in the middle of Kansas. She is studying air traffic control. By May of 2013, she will have earned her private pilot's license. To see my party girl attending a Christian school reeks of irony and humor. Still, she is adjusting and her potty-mouth vocabulary is weakening.
Look. It's been a tough year to be a mom. The parenting hasn't gotten easier; actually, it's harder on the emotional front. Sometimes I look at young families who are out and about, all giggles and popsicles, and my negative side thinks, Enjoy it while you can. Because it's going to get hella harder. I have thought numerous times that people who don't have children must have a lighter stress load. I have thought that being a parent is not for the weak. Parents have to have titanium nerves and a Teflon-coated self-esteem system. Sometimes I am not worthy. The love, though, is Nile River deep, so I get back up when kid issues knock me on my ass.
Financially, our household budget took a hit: I left the classroom; my teaching income disappeared. I've had to let go of pedicures and manicures and just-for-the-hell-of-it shopping excursions. Can't afford to get my hair colored at a salon. Seriously thinking about doing it myself, like I'm seventeen years old again, trying to decide between Loreal's champagne blonde and honey blonde. Might just go brunette and let the roots take care of themselves.


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