There And Back Again.
(by Stacey of Is There Any Mommy Out There?)
I expect it to be like a cloud. That moment of walking in the door.
A gold-tinged cloud scented orange with an undertone of cinnamon. It’s more like hitting a wall of thin arms and loud reedy voices, their smiles bright, their garbled tales spilled at my feet like slippery fish from a basket. I am surrounded by noise where I anticipated hugs set to the flicker of a silent movie.
The baby is up. Quiet time is over. It’s time for snack. They played in a tent. Do I want a cookie? That one is hopeful. They made cookies with Daddy. Might they perhaps, if I wanted one, have a cookie too?
My brain is frozen, shocked and sluggish, like the marble-eyed deer we nearly hit three nights ago on our wild escape through Palouse hill country into the night. Why oh why does it smell like fish?
It is one of those things they don’t tell you about motherhood. This matter of going away and coming back again. Or maybe, to be fair, it is one of those things that can not be taught. Like child birth and that instinct that tells you this fever is serious and not like all the others, this can not be explained before it is experienced.
It’s not that you miss them. Or maybe that’s just me – I might be odd in that respect, though I doubt that I am alone. Three years into sharing my thoughts on mothering this way, I believe firmly that I am never alone. There is always someone out there searching for this nugget, this truth, this strange fossil of a thing that they find buried in themselves and that they are glad to see someone else hold up to the light and turn around, curious. Will you look at this? Isn’t that odd? Look at how the shell turns back on itself. A new creature entirely.
It’s not that I miss them. Truth. It is that I am bound to them, a middle-earthen pact of blood and tears and need. I leave them joyfully. I am glad to be free. Thrilled to wander streets and talk late and sleep long and hard. Thrilled to be unneeded, unfettered from need for sixty short hours. But they are four cords of unearthly strength wrapped, vinelike, around my soul, that will stretch and stretch and stretch, becoming ever tighter, every thinner, ever tauter until the tension is unbearable and the outcome is a predetermined thing. The unbreakable laws of gravity and elasticity take over. I come hurtling back.
I traveled before children. I wandered Europe for months without a tie. I left Matt to his own devices and meandered through Thailand and India and Nepal. I missed him with all my heart and soul, but my missing of him was a part of the freedom. Leaving loved ones behind for a time is a special kind of freedom. Leaving children behind is a furtive, temporary escape. He is a soft place to land. They are the brick wall at the end of the cord. Their dirty faces and high-pitched demands and grabby hands mortared by whining, crying, hot breath on my face, a nervous baby cleaved to my side.
I press myself into it as hard as I can. The texture, when I close my eyes, is what I crave. The crags of their little faces. The spiderweb fibers of their hair. The crumble under my fingers of the tear tracks at the corner of their eyes. The classical melody beneath the scraw and screech.
I can’t explain it either. I haven’t got it right. Maybe I can’t tell you. Maybe you’ll never know. It’s not a lack of love. I’m not sorry to be home. To be a lover is to want to come back quickly. To be a mother is to have to.
**SaraSophia | August 15th, 2011 | Category: Featured 2, Memoir, Sara Sophia, Thursday 2 | 25 comments