On Motherhood II

There is something essential in that which is lost.

This is the only line for days. The writing comes like this now. A single line that rattles around inside of me, louder in the middle of the night, lost in the repetition of the light hours. I know that on the surface the line means I am missing who I once was, mourning something lost in my freedom and waist line. This is the easy part, the understanding and knowing of something I expect. But there is more to it and I know I have to get to the page in order to find out.

I can steal time but it is always a bargain, you have to give up something else. There is an hour in the early morning but you have to give up your shower. There are thirty minutes mid morning but you have to leave the kitchen a mess. There is two golden hours after lunch but you have to write one handed while balancing a sleeping baby on your chest. He grows up with the click of the keys dictating the pace of his dreams. I can steal time from everything but him. I could write in the evening but my eyes are heavy and my mind is loose and I fall asleep too quick.

There is something essential in what is lost but there is also something essential in losing it in the first place. Last summer while I was pregnant I ate lunch with a friend; outside in the heat, a salad with apples and ice tea. He told me that my writing was going to get better with a baby, that it was going to be the kind of thing that split my world wide open, that hung me out to dry, set me out to sea, that rocked the foundation in a way that is essential to a writer like myself, or perhaps to all of us. If there is not great change then the words lose their force, perhaps this is what I mean.

Everything lost will be given back in ways unexpected: like how the love coats your insides and drips like honey off the rafters and how a lack of sleep can make you hungry and desperate in a way that clears the noise. The only things that matter are the things that matter. The old chatter is gone. The old worries are quiet. The foundation rocks but it finds a rhythm in doing so.

I wonder if I am getting closer to how I feel with these words. I am not trying to count tic for tack, that what I lose I must also gain back. What I am trying to outline is how we give and how we get, not always in equal measure, but still. I am trying to make sense of how time is compressed in this place and how my values have shifted like the snow drifts outside. I am trying to remember that who I was is not lost but rather squeezed, pressed, into something else. There is no space for anything that is not essential, even that which is lost.

Perhaps this does not make sense or it does. What I do know is that at night the wood floors are cold and the bed is warm.

3 Replies to “On Motherhood II”

  1. This is so moving. Your writing is stunning at every word.. I’m in awe and feel everything you say to my core. The giving up one thing to get another – the hour for no shower or the 30 minutes but leaving something a mess. The line about stealing time from everything but him. No one has said this to me in this way about being a mama and it brings me to tears because it’s all so relatable to what my life has become.

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