Have you ever had an experience that involved your mind, body and soul? Have you ever felt that your entire being was so focused that there wasn’t room for any randomness, at all? That all the chatter in your brain died down for a minute and you just were a prisoner to that one thing? And that you were afraid to break that focus? That somehow it felt that the entire universe would collapse if you divided your attention? That there was no room for even a minute’s indiscretion? Have you? If you have then you know that this is the kind of feeling that can sometimes overwhelm you to the core. That it does not leave much room for anything. That it is almost primal in its demand of your commitment to it . It is relentless and plain brutal. It has no patience for noncommittal musings. Different people experience this type of mindfulness for different reasons. For me, it’s my children.
To say which one of them I feel more committed to is not only hard, in my own mind it’s unfair. To even think that one of them is less loved than the other breaks my heart. To take a favorite toy from one just so the other would stop crying about it is not easy. Not even for someone as tough as me. I want us to have two of everything. So my kids never have to share. So they never have to think about parting with what they love. I know that’s stupid. I may be able to give this to them now when they are nine and one but the world won’t make that exception for them. The world isn’t going to cradle their head in its arms after they’ve had a meltdown. The world is going to be even more unkind if they discover the vulnerability of my kids. When the world learns of their lack of resilience, it’s going to be meaner. This idea scares me. The idea of a ruthless, unforgiving, unsympathetic world scares me. I ask myself often. Are my kids prepared to be outside the safety and security of this home?
But then the bigger question becomes if I’m ready to trust the world enough to send them out? Would I ever be ready? Probably not. Empty nesting sounds so fun sometimes and at other times it sucks at my soul.
But other parents do it? How do they? How did my mom do it? I think it will come with time. It will be easier when I see that my kids have blossomed into tall, strong, predatory individuals. Exactly the kind of people who scare me now. It might become easy then. The idea of my little boy and my little girl growing up to be just as cutthroat as the people around them is almost laughable now as I look at their tiny little hands and feet, their eternal satisfaction in a bag of chips or a bottle of juice, a trip to the park being the sole motivation behind anything. But I can see how this is going to change with time. How I’m going to almost pray for this to change. That I would want them to be my innocent little babies forever but be the toughest people on the block when they go out.
Motherhood is hard in its own expectation of itself. A mother wants babies knowing full well the number of roller coasters they would take her on, both literally and figuratively. She doesn’t mind that. She almost lives for it. Could it be easier? Sure. But she hardly ever thinks about that. What she usually thinks about is how the hand that fits in her palm today would be steering a ship tomorrow. How the laughter that’s so easy to come today will be replaced by the same worries that line her face today. How someone else or may be no one will be around to wipe the tears that break her heart. How she will always think that she could’ve loved them more, kissed them more, hugged them more but couldn’t because she was too busy toughening them for the real people. Because she herself was never a real person. A mother is never a real person. She’s an angel that slowly, painstakingly pulls the feathers from her own wings to make wings for her children. She never quite likes their wings as much as she liked hers. They could be bigger, lighter, prettier, shinier. But more importantly to her, they could always be stronger. This is why a woman questions her motherhood everyday. And this is why she sets off on her quest everyday despite the grind that it is. The quest of having the perfectly engineered-for-this-world child.