Children are endearing to watch. They are funny. Cute. Delightful. Other people’s kids.
Three-year-old is Max playing in the sand. He dashes towards the road and looks back at his mother laughing. She sprints to catch him. Her face is tense. No trace of delight.
Charming smiles, tight hugs and sudden kisses, heartwarming love admissions. Squeals, loud cries. Expressions of misery and hate, grabs for the face and hair. A mix of pleasure, love and fear. Richness. Exhaustion. What was it like before – when she was just a child and not a mother? A distant memory she grasps on in brief off-duty moments.
Homework, backpacks, lunches, sports, play-dates, negotiations. Her eyes are no longer locked on her child. Her mind still follows him. The possibilities of future form, hopes of success and happiness…
She stands before the mirror and sees a woman who has nurtured, worried, and sat in the car for hours chauffeuring. Things are no longer the same. She heads toward her son’s room to remind him of something she has just remembered. A gentle knock. A loud yell in response, “Go away! Leave me alone! And you know what? I don’t like you.” She sits down. Waves of disbelief and rage sweep over her. Her knees feel weak. Her mind is empty. She stares in the dark space.
So, this is what it feels like to be a mother? Her soul aches. She is confused and grasps for answers. She tries to push back and revert the past. She wants to add control, to attack or even belittle just like her mother did to her. Or maybe she could just check out of motherhood?
She suffers yet she chooses to stay…close to her son’s experience. She feels theforce of growing up and changing. Her own self-hood is called to find answers, strengthen and expand. She must find a way to be that makes her happy.
Mother and son sit in the kitchen. Her son puts his arm around her shoulders. She looks up. Their eyes meet. He smiles so very innocently. “Sorry.”