Tuesday, March 23, 2010

What's my name again?

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.

6 comments:

  1. At the end of each paragraph of this post, I thought: I know exactly what you mean. These ideas are so resonant: The fact that our identities get mixed up with those of our professions and our families, and the fundamental truth that "Mommy" is the one that fits best - maybe because those that call us that came from our own bodies?

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  2. The aging thing and not knowing where our road is going to take us, that's a tough one. I think of my grandmother dying 20 years ago, and now my mother is almost 80. I hate to think of what that means for me in 20 years. But, of course, it means the exact same thing.

    I don't feel hopeless about it, though. I feel like I just need to fill the time with the things that matter. Write, read, friends (kids) (husband).

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  3. I sometimes feel so torn between selves. I'm lost, I think. But even though I'm split so many ways, Mama is home base.

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  4. I feel lost almost every day of my life but I just tell myself, they are only little once and Ill have plenty of time, Godwilling, to find out who I am later!

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  5. This is a tough one for me, as you know. It is my endless battle...the one of finding the line between Mama and Me. I can not say that "Mama" is my home base, as TKW said, or that it is the label that makes me happiest. There ARE days that that it is, in fact, my favorite label. There are days...not so much. I think it is like every other "name" we have...there are days I like being Mrs. A. There are days I wish I had never taken on this job. And not to compare it to fashion, but...there are days all I want to wear is flipflops. There are days that nothing other than a fabulous pair of stilettos will do. So the bottom line is I think I have figured out that I am a lot of things, and I don't NEED to figure out which ONE I am, because I am all of them, and I'm okay with that. I hope that makes sense...

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  6. Wow. I just wrote a post with a similar theme a few days ago. It's called "Raw" if you happen to have a second to look at it. I SO understand what you are saying. It's something that you can't possibly explain to someone until they are
    in" it. GREAT POST! Love your blog. I will check in more often! =)

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