Friday, May 1, 2009

Me, me, me.

I had permission to use this photo.

The Friday before Easter hubs, the girls and I went up to NYC to see J perform in his improv group. We got to NY early afternoon, checked into our room and prepared to have J show us around his part of town. My eldest daughter turned to me, as I rummaged through my purse trying to find my camera, and said "Don't bring your camera! I don't want pictures of me plastered all over your blog!" I was a tad taken aback. Okay, my feelings were hurt. I defended myself with "I don't just plaster pictures of you all over my blog." The older and the younger sort of made half-hearted attempts to defend me with comments like "well, it's your blog" and "I don't mind if you plaster pictures of ME up on your blog". The lack of enthusiasm for my picture taking persuaded me to leave the camera in the room. Which, I add with some smugness, they were all sorry I did as we saw some things that they all wanted a picture of.
In the heat of the discussion over my camera, L tossed out that I had no life of my own to write about so I used pictures of my kids and wrote about my kids. And someone, maybe it was my husband, said that "well, when you're a mom the kids ARE your life". This remark shot right to the heart of it for me and has smoldered in me for weeks.
I came home and did a review of my blog-which mostly has pictures of my kids plastered all over it. Even my personal struggles centered around my kids and what they are doing. The one thing I was doing for me, the 365 picture a day, has fallen by the wayside due to circumstances with one of my kids.
What the heck.
I saw the movie Marty the other night on TCM. It's the story of a 34 year old bachelor that lives with his widowed mother. He at long last meets a woman and falls in love. In the meantime, his widowed aunt, who is living with her son and his wife and baby, is tossed out of their home for being difficult. She comes to live with Marty's mother and they have a conversation about what's going to happen if Marty gets married. The aunt says something like: I'm 56 years old. I have a lot of life left to give; strong hands to cook and to clean and all I have left are empty rooms. Nobody wants me. What's a mother without children to love?
When it's put like that, it's easy to see how pathetic it is, really, to view myself only as "a mother". Honestly, I didn't realize I was doing that. I think it must be somewhat easier for women who have held onto some part of themselves by working. Perhaps everyone in the family can see that she brings so much more to the family than just strong hands that cook and clean. Or maybe not. The temptation might always be to put your whole heart into your family neglecting to leave a little piece of it for yourself.
So, I have decided to look a little more at myself and what I'm doing and a little less of looking at my offspring and what they're doing. I have a lot of life left to live with strong hands that are dying to do ANYTHING else but cooking and cleaning.