Tuesday, February 23, 2010

tethered

The name Amber doesn't lend itself well to nicknames. Aunts and uncles shortened it to "Ambie" and my mom tried on "Ber" for awhile, but neither really stuck. I was called Matony for years, after a commercial starring the Flying Matony Brothers that I apparently loved as a baby, but that was a name reserved only for the closest of family. But there was one nickname that stuck for a long time, used by most everyone and probably not with the kindest intentions. They called me Motormouth. Motormouth because my jaw was always flapping, tongue always rattling. I didn't walk until 17 months, but I spoke in complete sentences seemingly from birth. My dad once bet me that I couldn't go an entire day without talking and with $20 on the line (or $5 or $100 - all I know is that at 8 years old it seemed like A LOT) I was determined to prove him wrong. I did well, fighting the urges in order to gain my prize (and pride) and my dad paid up. But later he confessed that as I played the piano that afternoon, picking keys one by one, I sang along with a made up song, never even knowing my mouth was running.

And yet now, somehow when so much is happening, the hum of the motor has slowed. Inexplicably, the woman who has always refused to be silenced is quiet.

I want to talk - I do. I want to share quirky tidbits about life as a mom, about leaving the house without noticing the cheerios stuck to my ass, about finally electing to leave the diaper bag at home only to have a major poop-splosion moments later, about the wacky and wild days of motherhood. But much as I love my son (and my heart bursts at the thought of him napping peacefully (in his crib!) in the room down the hall) I can't delude myself that those tidbits are interesting to anyone but me. And frankly, some days they aren't interesting to me either.

*

I am enjoying motherhood in ways I never expected. Sure, there are some lonely afternoons and the nights are still long and sleepless, but I adore my Oliver Robin. I find him intriguing and hilarious and smooshable. He fills me up each and every day, even fuller than the box after box of Thin Mints I scoffle. I worry about him (not eating, not crawling, not sleeping, not sleeping, not sleeping) and yet vehemently defend him when others express those same concerns. I could reserve every breath for him for the rest of my days: breathing him in, deeply inhaling his essence, feeling his very being fill my lungs and course through my veins, bringing life to every cell of my tired body.

He fills me so entirely, a vessel overflowing, and yet I miss the days when I created my own energy, was responsible for filling myself.

I can blabber endlessly about his moments, his laughs, his pincer grasp and teeth, but I have no moments of my own anymore. People ask me how I am and I am honestly unable to respond. I don't think I exist anymore, certainly not in the way I did before. I am responsible for helping this small little man create his world, develop his senses and yet I feel, at this moment, so underdeveloped myself. In 9 months I haven't created anything (literally or figuratively) that was born of myself. And I miss me.

I have become his vessel, his vase in which the buds of his personality bloom and that is a role I value beyond all else. But there was a time when I tilled my own soil and forced my own dormant seeds to blossom. *I* was responsible for making my world beautiful.

I could feel my own power then, stretch my own wings. Now those wings don't expand but rather contract to envelop my baby bird (my Robin) to help him discover his own power. And to watch him soar might be even more beautiful than my own flight. But I yearn for the wind to ruffle my feathers too. I need to try to fly alongside him, but I just can't remember how.

5 comments:

Gypsy said...

it's all about balance, my dear. You are at that rare place when you have just realized that you are the only one who can take that bit of me time to do something that is important to you.
Lucky you... it's only taken 9 month's rather than the 9 years it takes some. :)
Love you,
Jess

KandiB said...

What a beautiful post. You are an amazing writer. You put into words that most of us dare to even entertain in our thoughts for a moment before pushing them into some recessed corner of our hearts.

Since kate was born, I find myself, more than ever, yearning for those carefree, all about me years when the world was at my doorstep. I was hot (well...as hot as I've ever been :), single, and had a kickazzz career.

Not that I'd give up Kate for that. no way. She was hard earned and I love her like nothing else. But there is that element of self confidence and awareness and opportunity that is missing.

I hear you loud and well. Trying to start with baby steps. No pun intended.

theworms said...

I'm not a mommy yet, but your writing is amazing and I get it.

Start slow and take a couple of hours a weeks just for you and do something you love.

((HUGS)) Amber

Kay Kirkland Martin said...

After almost four years of motherhood it's hard to know where my children end and I begin most days. I don't have any answers but I understand the emotions you described. Have you thought about exploring your writing more? You might enjoy visiting this site:

http://www.literarymama.com/

Lots of great writers whose words we can relate to. Hugs to you and precious Oliver too.

Genevieve said...

not sure you remember, but you asked me, around 9 months in, where I had gone. because all you saw in my notes was baby baby baby. I had forgotten about me. well, it happens to all of us, and you will come back, it takes some time to let those little apron strings loosen a little, to be able to do something for yourself that makes you feel like you again,b ut it will come back.
babies are needy beings, they suck the life out of you, they use all of your time when they're awake, and when they go to bed, you're so tired from all that time and devotion that doing something for yourself seems like so much less fun than something like sleep. oh sweet sleep.
I must admit, that's when I started quilting. because my sewing machine was calling me, it was straight lines, it was simple stupid, and it was a creation born of me again. I've been a sewing madwoman ever since.

you'll find Amber again. Mommy is just needed more at the moment.
but you're not alone in this.
we're here.