There And Back Again.

(by Stacey of Is There Any Mommy Out There?)

photo credit

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.

**

Stacey writes the heart-truth of parenthood at Is There Any Mommy Out There?
Subscribe to her beautiful and perfectly gritty thoughts, here.
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Pick by Story Editor – Sara Sophia//@sarasophia

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25 Comments to “There And Back Again.”

  1. Kim - Mommycosm
    Twitter:
    says:

    Oh, wow!!

    I love this. My husband and I were recently talking about my wanderlust. I can never find the proper words to describe my need to go away for brief moments… and the strong pull that brings me back.

    I DO know and you explained it perfectly.
    Kim – Mommycosm recently posted..Boston Parent Bloggers unite to create #Lawrys inspired meal {giveaway}

  2. Elizabeth
    Twitter:
    says:

    Oh, I remember the first time I read this. I love it just as much today, especially after coming back to my boys after four days without them. Stacey, you tell it just right.

  3. Sara Sophia says:

    The immense words of @anymommy on @StoryBleed today.
    (a must must MUST read)
    http://t.co/NbV1MPX

  4. RT @sarasophia: The immense words of @anymommy on @StoryBleed today.
    (a must must MUST read)
    http://t.co/hChJ9us

  5. The immense words of @anymommy on @StoryBleed today.
    (a must must MUST read)
    http://t.co/NbV1MPX

  6. anymommy says:

    I'm on @StoryBleed today! http://t.co/dERg8Nk Check out their gorgeous site, even if you're tired of me ;-)

  7. RT @anymommy: I'm on @StoryBleed today! http://t.co/71VNkz2 Check out their gorgeous site, even if you're tired of me ;- <WOW. *highfive*

  8. Lindsey
    Twitter:
    says:

    Gorgeous. Sigh. Just glorious. xo

  9. CrazyBlessed says:

    this is truth "… To be a lover is to want to come back quickly. To be a mother is to have to." http://t.co/wAptW78

  10. On missing, and not from @anymommy. That girl can WRITE. http://ht.ly/63q0R

  11. On missing, and not from @anymommy. That girl can WRITE. http://ht.ly/63q0R

  12. THIS. A Must read. Whoa. RT @storybleed On missing, and not, from @anymommy. That girl can WRITE. http://t.co/ULUmL77

  13. Oh yes. RT @onecraftyellie: THIS. A Must read. RT @storybleed On missing, and not, from @anymommy. That girl can WRITE. http://t.co/ynd6unm

  14. mosey (kim) says:

    You speak what’s in my heart. How do you do that? I wrote about re-entry into “real” life after travel recently, so this strikes such a chord. x
    mosey (kim) recently posted..lost and found

  15. Magpie
    Twitter:
    says:

    So damned true.

  16. Linda
    Twitter:
    says:

    Truth and poetry…beautiful!
    Linda recently posted..Just Breathe Or Laugh

  17. Sara Sophia says:

    Reading this again tonight. And feeling my heart tug towards it all over again. http://t.co/NbV1MPX

  18. Oh, Stacey. I love your writing so very, very much.
    tracey – justanothermommy recently posted..I am SO Over..

  19. Deb Rox says:

    Gorgeous writing about motherhood with my morning coffee. Perfect. From @anymommy on @storybleed. http://t.co/k0TILZz

  20. palinode says:

    Gorgeous writing about motherhood with my morning coffee. Perfect. From @anymommy on @storybleed. http://t.co/k0TILZz

    • Rich
      Twitter:
      says:

      There are moments of peace in prteoy for me. I can’t speak for anyone else, but there are days of writing in peace. It comes after the hardest work is over. It comes knowing the poem inside and out. It comes in the final days or sessions of writing it. It’s very wave-like for me. Rilke talks about using doubt as an ally in Letters to a Young Poet’. It takes some practice, but the doubt becomes your best critic. It questions the words, the whys and if you learn to work with it it takes you to another level of the poem. It’s hard to begin working with that doubt, but once the connection occurs it becomes a puzzle you are both working.At times, the levels become unbalanced. Doubt wins, you win, doubt wins.Yes, this is supposed to be hard. Supposed to be so hard we made it look easy. =)xo

  21. hipmumdotcom says:

    Gorgeous writing about motherhood with my morning coffee. Perfect. From @anymommy on @storybleed. http://t.co/k0TILZz

  22. Gail Glenn says:

    Oh, wow!! You speak what’s in my heart. Oh, I remember the first time I read this.
    Gail Glenn recently posted..Acne Tips

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