…where a brave and beautiful bunch gather every week to find out what comes out when we all spend five minutes writing on the same topic and then sharing ‘em over here.
Sometimes I miss the teenage me. The one that radiated confidence in what I knew. The one that while aware of the typical peer pressures that go hand in hand with that time in our lives, felt surprisingly comfortable in my own skin and certain in my choices. I made them intuitively, with little thought to how they may later influence myself or others and with the righteous voice that only the young can tenor.
Nearing 40, I think if my teenage self could see the woman I have grown into, she would voice her approval. Probably with that instinctual confidence that now, parallels the weary mother voice I seem to cultivate. For every certainty I knew then, I am proportionally clear of the absence of knowledge now.
Six years ago, I gave birth to my first child and with that change, my focus on the world grew blurry. I saw how unprepared I was as hormones fueled new worries and questions as to how to cope with the first corner of my heart that was meant to live outside myself. I struggled with post-partum anxiety. Some of it conscious, as I hoarded books and forums and other momma’s wisdom. Most of it unconscious as I ruminated in the unease of the beginning of the letting go of myself into this world I both love and now feared. Seeing Zuzu fight the need to be a central part of me and yet so much herself, I often found myself wondering if her strong spirit has always been in me waiting for its turn to meet the rest of the world head on. She is so much like me, she has that early voice of mine.
Then along came the Quail. My momma voice grew stronger out of need. It joined both the chorus of the other families like ours and resonated with the well-worn tracks of advocacy and inclusion that I had rehearsed in my college years. Yet still, a note was missing. I still found myself questioning my motherhood.
Finally, along came Sugarplum. From the moment we made the decision for her to join our family, her presence held the familiarity of a well-worn groove in a comfortable love song. We breathed in her milky presence and collectively sighed, “Oh, It’s you. Of course it’s you.”
Nearly six years into my role as a mother, I have found my voice. With one sweetly jammied plum of a baby worn on my hip, I sign to her one sister and call out loudly enough to be heard by her other over the din of our three-ring daily circus. I hear my own voice in the overgrowth of this garden of a family quite clearly now. I hear it in my heart, my head and the muscle of my arms and legs as I alternately reach for and push these children out into the world that waits for them, and me.