There was both compassion and shock as I saw her glancing my way. Her eyes emitted the song of weariness, blinking as if each small movement took all of the energy in the world. Her shoulders slumped over and the expression on her face seemed to say “I expect nothing: terrible or grand”. In that moment, she was simply surviving. Not in the way a homeless person or a soldier survives. Of course not. In the way a tired old rocking chair survives: waiting for the next body to slide into its open seat, to rock its heart out until the body relaxes, hoping its spindles and runners hold up amidst the squeaking, and then to later sit empty and still, watching the world around it cruise on by. It does nothing extra.
Perhaps the chair is lucky enough to be placed on a wide, wooden-planked porch overlooking verdant hills and frolicking wildlife. Maybe it will be moved next to an open window, lace curtains blowing with the gusts of honeysuckle spring-time wind, as a mama and baby occupy its sturdy seat. Or you never know, it could be refinished and refined and set in a city loft among other chairs (like this one), soaking in the redolent beat of it all: the cat-calls of construction workers and the incessant honking of cabs.
And this is my point. Just as I’ve managed to ramble off-topic with my bad analogy about rocking chairs, so I seem to amble a bit aimlessly through the past few weeks.
But that woman? She was my reflection, as seen in the drive-through window of Boston Market. Noticing myself propped at the leather wheel of a mini-van, waiting lustfully for a plastic bag full of round cartons of mashed potatoes and macaroni-n-cheese, made me realize yet again: I am SUCH a Mom. My reflection was startling; viewing myself encapsulated in this moment, realizing two tiny bodies (that I was responsible for!) were strapped in car seats in the back singing songs and giggling, waiting for my $2.54 in change and wondering anxiously just how far I could stretch that “jackpot”. This was after a day in which the following items were the only sustenance coursing through my body: 2 donuts, 4 slices of cheese, and said Boston Market goods. Oh, and a brownie that I shoved in my mouth while Kaia wasn’t looking.
It was a MOMent; a moment in which you are hit over the head with the realization that you are a Mom.
MOMents usually come on without advance warning and typically leave you either giggling, crying, or sighing. They are heavy and full, they are airy and light, they are rancorous and stifling. And they always remind me of the biggest, baddest, and best sacrifice I’ve ever made. Even in all of my shlumpy, grumpy, and sugary-high/crash glory, I am left grateful for the two little guides who have rocked my world. And the chorus I’ve heard so many times continues to ring in my ears “You will remember these as the best of times, the best of times, the best of times…”
Here are my “favorite” recent MOMents. What are yours?
- Lifting my shirt to reveal a sandwich-sized rash near my hip from where my dry, desert-winter skin has been rubbed raw by Indigo’s favorite riding position.
- Finding myself holding a fork of steaming mashed potatoes up to the A/C vent of my MINI-VAN to cool them off for Kaia. Yes, I did this while driving. Don’t even lie; you’ve all done something just as – ahem –“interesting” while driving.
- Circumnavigating Kaia’s temper by carrying on entire conversations in SONG.
- Taking a bath with Indi and proclaiming “Owwww, please don’t pull my hair”. And I’m not talking about hair on my head.
- Realizing that I have brow-furrowing wrinkles AND smile lines. That right there, that juxtaposition is what being a Mom is all about.
- Noticing that my step-mom and I were both wearing the same exact pair of pants from Wal-Mart. On her, they are cute and practical. On me, they are the Queen of All Mompants: waistband sitting literally right under my boobs, but successfully covering The Pouch of Expansion. Oh, and they have a stretchy waistband necessary for additional bloating and more-than-occasional consumption of sugary confections.
- Sharing Gummy-Vites with my daughter*.
- Feeling effin’ rich for having $20 in my wallet.
- Knowing that a majority of my “conversations” include the phrase “IF/THEN”…
- Being a recipient of Kaia’s increasing comprehension of language, of logical, of emotion, of creativity. My heart melting after visiting with friends and hearing her say with simple joy “Mama, that was SO MUCH FUN. I had such a good time”.
- Taking time to organize my clothes in the following manner: Skinny-Minny’s, Maternity, and Big Mama. Having three wardrobes is mind-boggling but totally necessary.
- Participating in our weekly “Auntie Anne’s Pretzels” ritual at the outlet mall. Me and the girls drive with the windows down, breeze blowing our collectively wispy hair, and sit at the tables contently chomping on our fresh-baked, buttery pretzels o’goodness with giddy smiles. Yeah, I even let Indi in on the action.
- Feeling HOT simply because I slid a red leather cuff bracelet over my wrist and managed to squeeze into an Wet Seal t-shirt paired with pre-baby jeans. Note: The Pouch of Expansion was under control but dying to erupt over the waistband at my first bend.
- Traveling alone with Indi for 5 days to visit dear friends. Soaking up her quickly fading babyness and her ever-present glee. Having a Dad stop me in the airport and comment – in a moment of bonding – “Is that a Moby Wrap? I love those things, I carry my daughter around in it everywhere…”
- Being a witness to Indi’s bedtime soothing ritual (humming, nursing, stretching, babbling, rubbing a blanket) as I snuggle her close.
- Feeling totally okay with maxin’ and relaxin’ in bathwater after my kid has peed in it.
- Overusing CAPS in my writing because certainly NO ONE would EVER be able to understand the depth and urgency of MOMents without them.
*let’s just forget for now that they include gelatin.