Posted March 19, 2012 by
It’s Monday morning in Santa Monica, and somehow certifiably colder than all the other parts of the country that I usually don’t envy. The washing machine is humming and sputtering, I’ve had my one allotted cup of coffee for the day, Vera is at preschool, and I have a lengthy list of things to get done in the next three hours. I’m always amazed by how efficient becoming a mother has made me. Back when I had all the time in the world (re: no kid to worry about) I used to procrastinate like you wouldn’t believe. People are always asking me now how I managed to raise a baby and write a book at the same time. The truth is that having a kid is what lit a fire under me. It made my time so much more valuable, and for that I am grateful.
This past weekend I thought a lot about the arrival of the new baby and how much it’s going to change things. Not in the sense of having more or less time really, but rather how it’s going to change the dynamics of the three of us. I’m suddenly fearful of how my relationship with Vera will be affected. Every morning when she wakes up she gets in bed with us to snuggle, and it’s the sweetest time of my day. Often she falls back asleep and I rest my cheek against her soft hair, letting the gentle rise and fall of her chest lull me into calm, and I think about how much I love her and how amazed I am that she exists at all.
But lately, those peaceful thoughts have been interrupted by ones like how is this going to work when there’s a little baby in the mix? Logic tells me that it will be wonderful, that there will just be more love and sweet moments and that it will be incredible to see my two children together, but I also just can’t escape this panicky feeling that this special time with my daughter is coming to an end.
I’m sure these feelings are all terribly normal and almost kind of boring in how trite they are. Sometimes it’s all so overwhelming though. Motherhood, I mean. It’s just never something I really imagined for my life. Every minute of it for me is uncharted. There is not one aspect of it that feels familiar or planned. There are so many things I imagined for my life, but this just isn’t one of them. I recently watched an old home movie of myself at age 16, in which I was lounging around in my basement with some girlfriends and we were talking about what we wanted to do with our lives.
“I’m going to be a writer,” I said. “I’m going to write books.” The declaration was so simple, the confidence I had then, startling. I’m not nearly as confident about myself now, as I was at 16. But it only makes sense then that nothing about publishing a book has been nearly as daunting or surprising as becoming a mother has been. People keep asking me if having a published book out there is surreal, and I always feel like I should say yes, but the truth is that it’s not. It’s what I always envisioned for myself. The truth is that being a mother is surreal.
What’s surreal is lying in bed in the morning with my little daughter curled into my chest, while a baby kicks and squirms within my belly. There was never a plan for this. I never once spent time in my life imagining myself as a mother, until I became one. So each day is new, each day is a challenge, each day I have to learn how to move forward in this new identity. Each day I etch away a bit more at the map of motherhood.
I’ll be in San Francisco this week and would love to see you at one of my readings!
Reading & Signing
Books Inc, Palo Alto, CA
March 20, 2012 7:00pm
Reading & Signing
Books Inc., San Francisco, CA
March 22, 2012 7:00pm