Photo: I choose to disregard the mess and see only the tower. Only the tower. There is no mess there. I’m very impressed by the build, and that’s why I share. It’s tall and interesting and they’ve got all the blocks facing just the right way. It’s beautiful. And then there is the runway/parking lot for the private jets. Basically, the boys recreated the town next door. This is how every single house looks. (BOOM! bwahaha. I’m so mean.)
In the story I am working on with my sister (which an editor is going to pick apart for me next week), the main character has a moment when she peeks into a room and watches a woman who she thought she knew well, alone in her sanctuary, carefully tending to one of her many bonsai. The girl observes for a moment, then “she wondered what Mamas do when they aren’t being mamas.”
It’s a line that I love, perhaps the most favorite of all the ones I’ve ever written. Because I don’t know when I, as a girl, understood that Mommy was a woman who did stuff, important stuff, when she wasn’t being Mommy. And then it took a longer time to understand that there was the Mommy I Knew, the Mommy At Work, and then a separate woman even beyond that. The Mommy Who Was Herself. In some ways, I still don’t quite know who that woman is. I’m just getting to know her, as I’ve become an adult realizing and re-realizing my own multiple identities, but also as we, Mother and Daughter, explore new roles, no longer anchored by the grand matriarch, Grandy. In some ways, I understand that I will never know who she fully, truly is. I want to say that it’s the same for her: she’ll never know who I am, fully and truly. But that’s not true, is it? She made me and raised me, after all. There is an powerful lack of fairness to it. Yet, I deeply respect it. She has given me everything. She deserves the space to keep some things for herself. She deserves my respectful non-demanding. I hope my boys will extend to me the same courtesy some day.
It’s also a line that echoes in my mind because, now that all the kiddos are back in school, we suburban Mamas (and Moms and Mums and Mas and Mahs) are getting back to our own identities. We’re visiting ourselves again, and we’re visiting with each other again. I sat in a friend’s office, catching up while watching her prepare a beautiful project for the Sunday School kids, and realized that my church is currently being completely run by women–from my Rector to my Senior Warden and all the women on the support staff. Us and all our wisdom and joys and issues. It’s a fun energy to be in the building. I had the pleasure of having brunch with two friends this week: on Monday with my cool artist friend, who gave me pointers on an embroidery project I’m working on for Christmas. The other, this morning, discussing her recent trip to Disney World with her two girls. The Greater Boston Yarn Crawl is this weekend, so I popped into my local yarn store to buy some skeins of a color I’ve been coveting, and spent time with a gaggle of women of all ages and stages, giggling with the woman who owns the shop, who has been an intrepid, inspiring entrepreneur. All through that, I did my freelance work, doing my research, doing my writing, meeting new people, patiently navigating new and changing relationships with the people I work with.
What do the Mamas do when they’re not being mamas? Everything. We do everything.
Matter of fact: we make the damn world go ’round.
But you wouldn’t know it unless you took the time to stop and look and listen. I’m sitting here on a Friday night in awe of it, really. Thinking about the multiple mini-villages I have membership to, thinking about what each of them do for my greater community, considering the gifts that each individual brings. We are so much more than we’re ever given credit for.
So my Quiet Thoughts are really an expression of gratitude. I’m grateful to You Being You, You Who Got Up This Morning. I’m grateful to You Who Slipped into Multiple Roles: You as Mom, You as Wife, You as Friend, You as Worker. I’m grateful because, in this moment as you read this post, perhaps in the first quiet moment of your day, You are currently You, the self you are most comfortable with, the You who serves no one else, just yourself, even if it’s just for a moment. You as You is sacred and I know fully and deeply that You as You cannot always be out and full. I appreciate that in the moments when you are relaxed, when you are in a place where you want a little something just for you, you choose this little space on the internet. I cannot express enough how much that means to me, and how humbling that is for me. Thank you.
It is a humid night in Massachusetts. The farmhouse is quiet but for the chirping of crickets and a nearby train speeding off into the distance. Weather reports say Jose is coming this way but, in the meantime, there is a weekend to enjoy. Buttermilk is in the fridge. Gonna try to convince my husband to add some pumpkin to the pancakes tomorrow. It’s humid for sure, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t All Pumpkin Everything Season!
On this Friday, my wish for you is a moment of insight: to see a beloved friend, or a lover, or a person you admire, as their full and intimate self. Give yourself the opportunity to be that vulnerable with a person this weekend, too: to shed whatever the layers of protection are, for a brief moment, and be yourself. Your full self. It’s a gift you’d give yourself and to whoever you share with. Try it, Dear Reader. See what happens. I wish you the opportunity to say something you’ve been meaning to say. To tell a person how much they mean to you, or how much you admire them, or to give a little praise or to share a little wisdom. Put something meaningful into the world and tug, ever so slightly, on the thread the connects you with someone in your life. Be brave, Dear Reader. I know it’s not easy. I wish you something simple and beautiful: a few flowers from the local farmer’s market, the first leaf on the tree to change and fall tucked into a book, an endless horizon after a hike somewhere. Feed yourself with a natural, simple visual, Dear Reader. Something that will inspire you and stick with you this week. I wish you a story told with skill, bonus points if it is over coffee and with plenty of laughter. I wish you a quietly held hand or a smile flashed from across the room that was meant only for you. Perhaps the most important wish of all is my wish for you to smile at yourself in the mirror this weekend. Look at yourself and see someone beautiful this weekend, Dear Reader. Remind yourself that you are loved and what you do in this world matters. You are the light that shines in darkness for someone in your life. So love yourself. You make the world go ’round.
Until Monday, Dear Reader, take care.