Quick update since it’s been more than a month since I’ve checked in here. (Sorry! Been working hard on Cocoon and stuff!) So: it looks like we’re going to have a baby. In March. They tell me it’s a boy. Also, I ran a half marathon last month—more on that later. And there you have it. Still mothering. Still running.*
My mind is in a million places. I’m listening, but only halfway. I’m everywhere, but . . . nowhere. Hovering around as everyone plays, does homework, ignores my requests to put their shoes in the shoebox, their lunch boxes by the sink, and their socks in the laundry. (For crying in the mud, we do this EVERY DAY.)
I know all their games. I know why they have a hard time falling asleep. I know who is going to be scrambling to get his homework done by deadline for the next 10 years and who is going to give himself ulcers over missed spelling words. I know everything—the homework schedule, the best friends (one of the Sophias broke to the top of Squish’s list earlier this week), what day the specials are at school. (I’m not quite as on top of the poop schedule as I once was, but still, I have a pretty good idea.)
And yet, despite my intimate knowledge of the intimate details of their lives, I have to work hard to be there. You know? Like I have to make an effort to be part of the family. Despite the fact that I AM the family. I have to be sure to be . . . a person. And not just The Mom. To play soccer with them at the park. To surprise them with cookies after school. To make them laugh. To know—and enjoy—the favorite football plays from the college games we watched and lived and relived over the weekend.
It’s funny that even though I know that this—this building personal relationship business—is, you know, top priority, it so often gets pushed to the bottom of the pile. It gets buried underneath the dishes and the meal planning and the fact that it can be really hard to a listen to a kid tell a story when he gets distracted every five words and has to start over.
But, I will say that the upside (or one of the upsides) of having had a really crappy year (see asterisk below, and then listen to podcast for more info) is that I’ve given myself a break. Lots of breaks. Sometimes I don’t want to do the dishes right after dinner. So I don’t. Sometimes I want to sit and watch the kids play MarioKart. Sometimes I even want to play myself—if only so I can save someone else the trouble of coming in last place. And so I let myself. The dishes are not really my responsibility.
And I hope that somehow my mixing things up a bit, putting first things closer to the front of the line, that sort of thing, will somehow close the distance. The distance between being a presence—an aura, a being who is so ever-present and ubiquitous as to be completely invisible—and actually being present. Being there. Where they are. Not only physically, but mentally, emotionally, spiritually, whatever.
So while I’m flittering around, keeping track of who has art class on Tuesday (both of the boys), and what clothes need to laundered, and who needs to go over their spelling words, and making dinner and making weekend plans and making sure everyone’s bum gets wiped, I also need to make sure I zoom in. Connect. Make eye contact. See what is actually happening as I hover and bob and weave and pop up everywhere all at the same time.
It’s important because I don’t want to be invisible. I don’t want to be isolated. I don’t want to be The Mom. And motherhood is isolating. You’re the emcee who disappears backstage, the statue on the pedestal, the janitor who makes it seem like there are never-ending rolls of toilet paper. People may notice, but they never really tell you. They never really see you.
*If you are interested in hearing more about the torturous, tortuous journey to get to this point, you can for sure listen to my podcast. It’s episode 3: The Birth of a Podcast.