Sunday, May 12, 2013

My Own Sun

Here's the truth (you guys know by now that you'll always get it from me) : Most days, I'd even say 5 out of 7, I feel like the biggest farce in the universe. I feel guilty when my kids say things like, "Mom, you are the best mom in the world!" Because I know it isn't true. And I know that one day, they'll know it isn't true. 
The truth is, most days I look around me, at the book bags and the shoes, at the Lala Loopsy toys and the Play-Doh, the inside out underwear and socks, and think to myself, "This is not what I signed up for." Okay, let's be even more honest. I didn't really "sign up" at all. But if I had, it most likely wouldn't have been for this. It wouldn't have been for the mess and the stress and the yelling and the refereeing. Sometimes, a lot of times, I am just so shocked by it all. That I have kids. That I'm a mom. That, roughly 10 years ago, I became the center of a small person's universe. Oh come on, moms, you know what I'm saying. It's not conceited. It's the God honest truth. When I pushed that small person from my body, I became my own sun. His sun. And later, my daughters' sun, as well. Completely equipped with my own gravitational pull, my own orbit. It's a force that I doubt will ever be outgrown. 
A few months ago, I observed a mother with her grown daughters- one in college, one newly married. They were home for a holiday, and I watched. They orbited her. When she wasn't near them, they wandered the house looking for her. When she sat, they sat. When she shifted, they shifted. Their shoulders touched. Their hips. Their heads rested against hers. They were pulled to her, pulled by her. They needed her like they needed the sun. They were little planets, caught up in her path, spinning, spinning around her. 
I haven't really outgrown this innate planet instinct either. My mom lives in Florida now, and even from hundreds of miles away, I feel the pull. I'm always gravitating toward her, longing for that Sunshine State, to be back in that orbit. 
We mothers... That cord we grow, when we grow our babies, it's never completely cut. There's this pulsing thread between us, feeding back and forth. 
I've felt this more and more, as my own children have gotten older. You would think I'd realize it more when they're younger, when they're these little involuntary planets, revolving around me, helpless. But I've never felt that pull stronger than I have over the last year or two, as I've seen them instinctively shift and gravitate and function around me. I remember one time I told a friend how claustrophobic it made me feel sometimes. To be walking through a grocery store, or down a hallway, and to not only see but to FEEL them around me. It's like when you attach an inner tube to a boat. (Or for an occasionally more accurate description, imagine Shir Kahn  in Jungle Book with the torch tied to his tail). I turn a corner and I can feel them float behind me in my wake, a little delayed, maybe a little wider path, but undoubtedly shadowing my every move. 
These invisible cords that still tie them to me, this gravitational pull, this mini galaxy that I'm at the center of, it's wearying sometimes. There's a lot of pressure and little rest. Is this how the sun feels, I wonder? Surrounded by all these planets, no matter where he turns, always someone dependent on his energy, his life force, absorbing him in, breathing him out, NEEDING him? Let them get too far away, and they freeze. Pull them in too close, and they burn up. They must exist with you and without you, all the time. Everyday. Such a fine, tense balance to maintain. 

But oh, isn't it glorious? To be the sun. To be life and light and nourishment. To feel them orbiting around you-  living their own lives, maintaining their own ecosystems, true- but always, always pulled to you. And you hold them. You embrace them in that gravity, you hold tight for dear, dear life, watching them spin and twirl around you, rejoicing as they absorb you. Does the sun need the planets as much as the planets need the sun?
In our case, even more so. 

Exhausting, yes. 
Exhilarating, even more so. 
Worth it, worth it, worth it. 

I'm tired. I'm worn out. I'm overwhelmed and underwhelmed, I'm the center of this universe that is the center of MY universe. I'm my own sun. I'm a mother. 

Happy Mother's Day, to all my fellow suns. 

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