I have been in a really irritable mood for the last couple of days. I can't really explain what has made my mood so foul, but after reading Bad Mommy Moments today, I think I know what's ailing me and making me want to act like my almost three year old.
I think I have lost myself somehow.
Before I had kids, I was someone's wife, but I was learning about things that were interesting to me, not learning ways of surviving with three extra bodies to feed, bathe and clothe. I had my responsibilities that came with being an adult, but none of them changed what I was called.
And for a while, I was just Honey and Mama. But even my name varies with who I am with. I am Mrs. E. the teacher, Mama, Matthew's Mom, Andrew's Mom and Joshua's Mom. Sometimes I just want to be ME. Except, I don't know who that is anymore. And, I think I haven't known that person in a really long time.
Over the weekend, a friend of my in-laws made a copy of our wedding video into a DVD. As I watched those two young people (and before you start preaching, we were twenty-two when we married, almost fifteen years ago) I barely recognized my own face. It's not just that I looked much younger, but I was so naive.
I had no idea what life was about to throw at me in the coming ten years, let alone fifteen. My father's illness and death, my mother's deterioration of mind and body, aunts and uncles growing older and weaker, these beautiful three children who require so much of me; the best of me.
Somehow, in all that responsibility, and new labels and names, I have lost that bright eyed twenty-two year old bride. I realize that I cannot go back, and by no means, do I want to. But sometimes, when you look back, you cannot imagine how far your journey has taken you. What sheer will and a ton of faith will help you overcome.
Because these days, the easiest thing to be is just Mama. And to claim that being Mama is easier than anything else is a huge statement in and of itself. Instead, the labels pound over me like tireless waves. Teacher, wife, mother, sister, aunt, godmother, friend, caretaker, landlord, chief financial officer, social director, activist, volunteer, environmental manager, inventory taker, decision maker, ADULT.
Day in, day out, with no end in sight.
And where am I under this stockpile? What do I want to be called?
Some days, like today, I just want to be Maria. A girl who likes to read, and likes to write. No multitasking, no hyphens, no endless job titles.
I am not ungrateful. There have been so many guiding lights along my journey. So many people in the right place, at the right time, with the right phrase, the right gesture. Letting me know that I have chosen the right path, that my work has yielded rich fruits. That I am not alone.
It gets confusing sometimes, remembering who I am, who I was, and evolving into the person I might become if I take the time to revisit the road taken. To see the progress of my journey.
If I sit still long enough, without falling asleep, I can see that I am still Maria, the girl who likes to read, who likes to write. And she now has a full life, with many names and labels, responsibilities and hobbies.
But the name that still makes my heart stop with joy is Mama.
And regardless of how confused I might be, there is no question that this label is the one that makes me the happiest.