Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day Rocks....and Rolls!

My mom birthed me, therefore I am. Thanks mom!

Wait is it 10:41 CST? Why, yes it is. I rolled my old bones out of bed an hour ago, secure in the knowledge that I got to sleep in today. Sleeping is just better when you know someone else is responsible for the urchins. A breakfast spread (not in bed--that mode of eating is overrated--crumbs, spilled stuff, it's better in theory) sat on the table. My little cherubs were there. The youngest one sans clothes. He's happier that way these days.

I got a present. Try to not be jealous. It's going to be hard because they're so freakin' cool!

The earphones, made by Etymotic Research specially for my iPhone, cancel noise, so I'm not blasting my eardrums now turning the music up so dang loud to cancel external noise. They fit into my wee ear canal comfortably. My Apple earphones hurt my ear and were falling apart after daily use since December. I endured the pain because 1) I'm cheap and 2) my options sucked for so long. The benefits of the old Apple earphones still outweighed the other two choices. With the Apple earphones, you could use the phone and I really, really like the feature of uninterrupted music. That is, I could receive a phone call or make one, and the song I was listening to would fade out and then back in right where it was. The other headphones were either headphones or wireless blue tooth phone, but not both phone and headphones.

Not now. The Etymotic HF2's do everything the old Apple earphones do, they just do it oh so much better. The sound is astonishingly good. Rich and full, nice bass, mid-tones good, treble decent. Sounds a bit tinny right now but I'm listening to an old Roy Orbison recording of You Got It so it might be that. Now, I'm listening to Prince's I Would Die For You. Sounds the same. It's the earphones. But I'm quibbling. They are fantastic.

I accepted one phone call and experimented with going outside. A complaint about the Apple headphones was that the microphone picked up every little sound. Thus, a breezy day negated talking on the phone outdoors with the headphones on a walk say, requiring me to pull them out, hold the headphones in one hand (no clip--the new ones have a clip) and gab on the phone. I know. I suffer. We'll see if it's the same deal with the new ones. I don't know. During my one test run, the caller could hear the birds chirping in the background, so we'll see.

If I was a good mother, I'd be waxing elephant about the inherent joys of motherhood first before telling you yahoos about the rocking headphones. But I never claimed to be a good mother. No award winning, heroic deeds of self-sacrifice (this morning yet, anyway) to distinguish me from any other mother who does her loving duty day in and day out. I just love my kids.

My Little Toot ran up to me, naked of course, jumped into my arms and exclaimed, "I love you Mama!!" Well take my heart out and crush it in your little palm, son. Oof, I just can't even describe the feeling that comes from hearing those words, that way, from that sweet little face. The headphones are choice, but there is no comparison to those pink cheeks, blue marble eyes, and squeaky voice. We moms are complete suckers. It's that skin, the sweetness, the purity that helps us when, five minutes later, he is head butting me because I won't give him his third bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios.

Motherhood is complex, mundane, routine, surprising, demanding, relentless, and really not for the faint of heart. Until a woman is a mother herself, she can't really comprehend her own mother's dedication and love. There aren't words for it really. It begins with the sacrifice of the body. I remember being astonished how consumed I was by being pregnant even when I was too busy to think about it. This little dot of a kid completely changed my biochemistry. My body responded to this alien invasion on autopilot, but my life was no longer just mine. It became this other being's too. And the pregnancy was just the beginning of life giving.

As time goes on, that commitment and choice becomes even more apparent. You don't know what kind of kid you'll get. I expected that I'd have no problems. Of course, when I got pregnant, the notion of a deformed child or some birth defect subtly terrorized me--hung out there as a looming possibility, but I didn't really believe that would happen. And I thought the pregnancy would be fine. But I couldn't know.

Motherhood disabused me of the notion that I had control of my destiny. It was an illusion anyway. I thought I could make life conform to my whims. And to a certain extent, I could, but mostly I possessed the hubris that all young people have. That life will go on forever and that all mistakes can be corrected with work and time. I was wrong.

My body betrayed me. It birthed the babies early and wanted to do the same with each successive pregnancy. We only know a little about why. There is always a why, but there's not always a way to find the why. And then one of my sons died. And the other lived and suffered. And I was helpless to stop it or change anything.

Motherhood revealed the truth: I am limited and am a conduit for life force but do not possess the power of life. That knowledge is self-evident and of course, I knew it intellectually before, but I didn't know it in the way I knew it after the birth of my sons.

I don't want to get all maudlin here, that's not really my point. But I do think that a certain humility and self-awareness comes with parenthood. Suddenly, life gets re-prioritized. And all my fancy ideas and selfishness and self-will and ideas about life got shot through the blender of reality and what's really important. And imagine my surprise! What was really important wasn't me, well not every single second anyway.

Motherhood doesn't automatically make a person a selfless, loving paragon of virtue. It didn't me, that's for sure. It did expand my world beyond my own confined constraints. My heart expanded and I was made vulnerable. A hug from a naked gnome reveals my weakness and newfound strength too. My life is more focused and more full. I am chained and freed at the same time.

The world needs more mothers and fathers. People making choices for the benefit of others over themselves. Japan and Europe die today because their citizens live like today is the last day. And they create a self-fulfilling prophecy. Why care about society lasting beyond this generation? What is worth saving about it?

If you're a mother (or a father), the answer to that question is self-evident.

Oh, and one more thing! I had the earphones in the wrong ears. I switched them. The sound is even better!

Cross-posted at Right Wing News.


RacyKacy said...

I think every expectant mother worries of giving birth to a deformed child, however loving mums cope.

Chalmers said...


Great post. As a new father it has amazed me how my view of the world has changed. The depth of emotion I feel now, I thought it would stop once the baby was born, but it didn't. It is not a feeling of roller coaster emotions, no, it is just that emotions feel deeper, there is more meaning, just more.

The feeling of pride when I look at my bride and our child, just sleeping on the bed this morning as I got up to go to work. Pure peace and love. Amazing.

I had a conversation recently with a friend... He said, "How can I bring a child into this world?" My response, "How could you not? The world needs more children from strong homes and strong parents. Without them, we will turn the world over to whom?"

Happy Mother's Day Mel,

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