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71 weeks | This is life | no. 0065
Sometimes I glimpse the long road ahead in this mothering work. At once I feel a jolt and a relief, both overwhelmed and overjoyed at the thought of all I will have to do in this life. I think there’s a reason all the elder folks say, “just take it day by day.” It’s too much to hold in one breath. The weight of endless responsibilities can feel crushing. But at the same time there’s a deep longing for that pressure to keep increasing. There is a knowing that somehow we grow stronger as we grow deeper into our mothering heart.
The munchkin has moments when he looks like an old man. Throughout the course of a day he shifts and seems to take on different stages. I realize he’s most like the infant-baby I remember when he nurses during the night. Now that he’s a mobile toddler, he spends his days putting in overtime to grow up. His independence is sprouting in all directions. His determination to go where he wants, and move what he wants, and close whatever door he wants in my face is met with surprise every time. Even though I know what this is, that this is the process of maturing into himself, it still brings me pause. What happened to my baby, I am always wondering.
I have to remind myself all the time that my baby is still right here. I think I’ll be one of those mommies who always sees her baby, no matter how old he gets. This is actually not even something new to me as I developed a habit years ago of looking at random adults when I was commuting and wondering how they looked as babies, imagining that at one moment they were held and loved and cherished. When I see people who look tattered and abandoned by the world, I am always thinking, But who discarded you like that? Humanity is so delicate, I feel. If just one of us is missing, we’re all missing something vital to the whole.
Today the munchkin bit me while nursing harder than he ever has before. It was while he was sleeping and my startled response didn’t even wake him. It hurt so bad for almost twenty minutes. I checked several times to make sure I wasn’t bleeding. I thought about all the mothers I’ve talked to who can’t believe I am breastfeeding him still because he has all those teeth. It never occurred to me to stop nursing him because of momentary discomforts. I think also because the munchkin and I are together all the time, I experience some manner of discomfort everyday. A piercingly sore nipple is just one occupational hazard. But this is the work I choose, so I rub some shea butter on it and hope he stays sleeping a little longer so I can do some writing.
Tonight my Wednesday’s Bloom time was delayed because someone interested in the New Mommy Writers’ Workshop wanted to know why she had to become a member to participate and “pay to write.” I was initially put off by the tone of her message, but I thought it could be a question others had. I was sure my information about the program was clear, but from her questions I could tell she didn’t really understand the intention of the Workshop or the community I’m seeking to create.
Of course, I couldn’t just let it go. I had to reply, and go back and forth. So for like an hour I wrote out a very well-thought-out response and tried to sound as non-defensive as possible. Deep down I sensed that she hadn’t really read the materials, and yet wanted to still see if my program would be a good fit for her writing goals. In having to spell everything out for her, I had an opportunity to rearticulate to myself why it is I do what I do. I told her that I don’t “teach” people how to write, rather I facilitate an intentional series of activities that help participants tap more readily into the abundant creativity they already possess. I also explained that members of the Workshop receive customized creative guidance for their writing journeys, and that because I am personally investing in their process, I ask them to personally invest in the Workshop and its community with membership fees and contributions to the circle gatherings.
There was a brief point when I wondered if I was wasting my time trying to explain what she could have just as easily read off of my tediously-crafted, extremely specific website that gives ample information about what the Workshop is and who it intends to serve. But I didn’t want to come off as rude, and I really wanted to gain insights into what had even led her to inquire about the Workshop. In the end, we realized she was looking for something altogether different and had misunderstood the nature of the Workshop. After I finally grasped what she was really interested in I told her if I came across anything like that, I’d send it her way. I appreciated her questions and willingness to dialogue and thanked her for the conversation.
I was really proud of myself for the way I articulated my process and the scope of the Workshop. I know everyone is not going to be excited about what I’m doing, but I think it’s good practice to be able to communicate your passions in the face of confrontation, resistance, or even indifference. She may not have walked away with a membership to the Workshop, but she did just become one more person on the planet to have a deeper understanding of my work and why I do it– which I think is highly valuable on any day.
The munchkin, my first born, was born on a Wednesday. Wednesday’s Bloom: Textual Portraits of a New Mommy is an ongoing multi-media documentary project about my process as a mother. Today’s story is a part of Volume 1, 73 consecutive weeks of posts, spanning about the first year and a half of the munchkin’s life. Each episode explores my weekly discoveries, challenges, questions, and hopes as a mother. I also facilitate the New Mommy Writers’ Workshop for all mothers and women active in their mothering work who are excited about cultivating their own writing practices.