My shtick is writing about work and leadership. However, everything I write will only be from my perspective which is informed by my identity. Now, I am very much about purpose and living a full life with an understanding of who we are in this world. When you write your resume, the first paragraph is your summary, career objective or, when you want to make it simple, about me. Whenever I review my resume I have to check on whom I have become in the period between reviews. Have I achieved my objective? Have I improved as a professional? Am I fulfilling the passion that I spoke of?
But things change and I am in a season of great change. For this post, I will focus on an area that I held out of my initial scope for the blog. Let’s talk about who I am now.
Back in 2013, or 2014, maybe 2015, (it was a hazy period) I had my last major life change. The details are all over the place but what I do remember is how the cloudy period ended. I remember this one day, my mother was sitting on the sofa, playing solitaire as she does and doing her thinking as one does when nearing retirement. I sat down next to her, I don’t remember what drew me there but I just sat. She did that mum thing of looking over her spectacles, studied me, took them off properly, set them to the side with her phone and then open her arms to me. It was a real movie moment of falling into my mother’s arms.
She held me and let me weep, she rubbed my back spoke to me and comforted me in a way that I probably hadn’t been comforted since I was a toddler. Her voice, I don’t remember most of what she said but the tone, the feeling, and the atmosphere that her voice created are very solid in my mind. Between the haze of this emotional avalanche and that most of the words being spoken were in vernacular, I missed most of what she said but one statement stood out. “What could be troubling you so much when your mother is here?”. And through the moment she would repeat the last part “your mother is here, I am here”.
After that session and that day, I got my act together. I look back and it’s like she passed me a bit of her strength the way you would share a piece of bread. In my mind now, I fill in the words I don’t remember with some ancient secret matrilineal ritual of breaking off a piece of herself to give me the strength I need to pick myself up.
During the pregnancy journey, my mother would tell me that she wishes she could carry the burden for me because there is a lot of pain and difficulty in this life of being a mother. She would take this for me because she has seen it and it is tough. And now it made sense. Out of all her grandchildren, my mother does not go to the labour room. I once asked her if she would come with me and she said, never. It’s too much to watch her child go through so much pain. She couldn’t do it for any of us, it would break her. Nonetheless, there is one exception to this rule but that is not my story to tell.
Over the last 10 weeks, my mother and I have spoken every day. I have felt her like an almighty (in every sense of the word) guardian. She has laughed about wishing we were one of those cultures where the mother moves in to take care of the new mother and baby. I would wash both of you and make sure you are fed, she said and laughed cheekily. One day, having unlocked a new struggle feature I called her despondent and asked her why it feels like a new pain check in once you are done with the last one. She responded “you are a mother now, it will be physical, mental or emotional and they will replace each other. It comes with the territory. Like sleep, forget about ever sleeping again. Even when she grows up, you will still wake up in the middle of the night to worry about her. I still do for all of you. (for context, she’s in her seventies and I am the last born). But it is completely worth it.
So this is who I am now. I am a woman, who writes stories and things, and who works, who is now a mother.
But why would anyone want to be a mother if it is such a painful, difficult experience? I think it’s a good time to repost last year’s tribute:
Chrysanthemums, the florist called them mums.
Why I want to be a mother- it’s a lot of vanity when I think about it.
I want to see what my mum sees. I want to see the redemption that comes after the unfairness of a miscarriage. I want to have the courage that gets you through trying again and getting through every pregnancy without fear.
I want to understand this strength that gets you through raising some bullheaded little people. I want to unlock that wisdom that teaches them to be impactful humans. I want to feel that pride of watching pieces of my heart accomplish amazing things. I want to feel that victory of watching my blood overcome brokenness and obstacles that I couldn’t do anything to protect them from. I want to see my babies somehow pick the good lessons from me, becoming even better parents than I was.
I want to one day see that peace she has when she looks at her life says “I don’t know how but it seems I did a good job. And it’s damn beautiful.”
And if I don’t get to be a mother, I’ll still be alright because my mum did a pretty good job and I can still pass on what she taught me.
Happy Mothers Day