The Importance of Being
This week’s end habitually zoomed past, and I failed again to hit all writing deadlines as I was too busy being present. Though the weekend weaved in and out of my faves (yoga, friends, babes, and books), I carried with me this incessant need to document my days. No matter how many men have told me it isn’t worth the price of my pen’s ink, my muddy memoir is as worth telling as yours and yours and yours is (a writing workshop is in the works–if you can’t wait for information, write me an e-mail).
This unabated determination to write you each day while remaining as present as I can muster in my daily affairs carries my brainwaves back a few moons. Nursing my babe felt as if it was my sole purpose on this earth. True, I still cooked for Husband. I made our beds. I hung clothes on lines and folded them (only to tear them from unwilling, antiquated drawers when I would randomly come to from my milky reveries. I would change into one of Husband’s thick plaids I’d taken to wearing. And sometimes, when most unkempt, I’d find milk stains had made their glorious way down to my maternity leggings I should’ve thrown away some time ago.)
Mostly, I was too present in the moment for which I am oh-so grateful for. Some mommas have more than one job, more than one babe, more than one house to tend to.
All I truly had, all I truly needed, was housed within the palest parts of my arms, forever unswaddling himself. And I just soaked up every little peep, peep, peep of him. And I did not write.
But how he is just like me. From his first days, he wanted to be held but on his terms. He is so very present and yet in his own world of trucks that go boom down every surface of his days. Those booming trucks. Those whirling circles he runs until he crashes into my legs.
“Momma, momma,” he yowls and yowls.
Finding my own rhythm of living with the present while writing with the past has been as vital to my health as breathing. As swaying my hips. As moving through mundane motions to welcome in the sunnier bits of our lives–like a late afternoon walk or a bike ride through the middle of town.
Since becoming a momma, I’ve witnessed many meme-ey things indicating I should be most present, most furious, every damn day.
How do I do this?
According to wee posts on social media, I’m to run ’round with a coffee-laden belly only emptying at night for wine-induced binge-watching on the telly. And wear my workout garb proudly at all times.
New mommas find so many of these—mostly positive quotes posted in whispy fonts—flowering their cellular walls. These posts will yell at you to rest assured—that everyone and no one but someone is feeling just as you do.
But I wonder if the best advice a new momma can receive when feeling over or under or neatly whelmed does not involve telephones at all. What if we all simply turned off those electrons voicing far too many opinions? What if we then listened to our bodies for advice on what we should do next? What if we just remained fully present in our actions rather than burning out our eye sockets on Instagram? Admittedly, I am guilty of sitting on Instagram in hopes of finding new followers who may find some use for my words. Rather, I should be listening to my own mind, my heart, my blood, my oxygen, all running together–full of purpose and good intentions.
And so I felt that I must create this space. Whether you’re a fledgling of a momma, student, boss, banker, candle-stick maker, I urge you to close your eyes and just listen to your body for a moment. Listen long enough to find what it needs and what it craves. Is it more quality time with your parents? Is it less time among things that don’t provide any sense of happiness?
I won’t offer you young mothers fluffed up quote-ables regarding pizza, workout plans, or mama-razzis. Caught up in precisely your own version of mommahood—which is as real and as unique as every relationship between momma + her cub—is such a crazed mess of beauty. What I hope to offer is that you ruminate on that fact–that your uniquely crazy, totally f*cked up, beautiful mess of a heart palp that you call home may just be that best place for you to exist right now. And maybe just maybe you can check in with those heart palps and ensure that you are fully present. If not today, than perhaps tomorrow.
Have you ever witnessed that? A momma just doing her own thing, in her own wee space, just being present with her little cub’s movements, helping when he falters and consoling when he falls. Not fleeing from her surroundings made in part by her decisions some months or years ago. It’s so damn beautiful. And I’m just in awe to not only experience it myself but to witness other mommas doing what they innately know to do in any given pull and tug, tug, tug from their wee one. Their light. Their plan. Their day and their night. The only that will leave the nest to make them the lonely.
It is truly a thing of beauty.
All of it.
I now can put this into words, cumbersome and awkward as they may sit with some readers. Conceptualizing this present of being present feels like a burden at times. Other times, it allows me to see various angles of mommahood I hadn’t known I’d been exposed to. And I re-live it again and again. In my mind. On paper. With other mother-women. We both eat it all up.
And here I will bookend: is it any wonder that I was so present, so caught in each and every moment I spent nursing my babe, that I never seemed to build a supply of milk (nursing mommas with vats of bag in their deep freeze know what’s up)? In turn, being present made my monster bear always have a strong need of me. Though I may have felt heavy from the weight of the milk in my breasts, from the weight of decisions we mommas make in creating people meant to cherish this world, meant to make it supremely better, it was so worth every bit of energy and sleeplessness. I am just a river. For now and ever shall be. For I run and flow and bend and stretch out past my limits, past barriers made by men toiling at my bones, my walls. But I won’t be contained, and yet I shall always provide for my monster bear, my little tribe within my tiny town. I just hope they always have need of me while they are out there, being present and engaging in their own lovely lives.
How will you be present today?