20140613-181750.jpgI was a mother for 23 years. Like all mothers before and after me, I learned to breastfeed and wash strange stains from baby clothes. I learned to heat baby food and make spoon-airplane noises. I thrilled at roll-overs and stand-alones and first steps. I foolishly taught my sons to run, read, and dress themselves. Now look where that has gotten me.

I sit in a very quiet house now. Twenty years ago, I would have paid good damned money for this much quiet, but this breezy summer afternoon, I miss the giggles and the happy shrieks of my sons being squirted with a hose. I miss the bloody knees and the salty tears and the “kiss it betters.” I miss the late night climbs into my bed, “just for a minute.” I miss the arguing, the fussing, the crying, and the whining. Yes, I even miss the whining right now. Last night, I had a very vivid dream that I was pushing an empty stroller around an amusement park. It was very handy, because it held my purse and stuff, but as I was pushing it, I became aware that it was missing something. I began to look for my babies. Standing in the middle of the lights and the rushing crowds, I panicked; then I remembered that they were grown. I stood in the middle of the park and cried.

So this morning, I watched the videos. I made videos for each son for graduation, videos chronicling their lives from newborn to 18. I watched them again today, wanting for five minutes to wallow in self-pity. Five minutes. In five minutes of video, they grew. In five minutes of real life, seemingly, they grew. I blinked, and my motherness had disappeared.

Twenty years ago, I thought the days of dirty diapers and ear infections were hell. I was ready to end that relationship once and for all on some level. It may have been riddled with moments of torment, but my relationship with motherhood was deep, sacred, and possibly co-dependent. I realize now how fleeting the passion of motherhood really is. It’s a lover that just leaves one day for groceries and never returns. And here I am, left to say things like, “I just want you to be happy…” and “It’s me, isn’t it?” And it is me. I got old. Motherhood traded me in for a younger model.

I will be a grandmother any day now, and soon I will push a stroller again. This time, it’s a badass jogging stroller with awesome off-road wheels, one I could never have afforded 23 years ago. I would like to think that Baby Wesley’s arrival will fill my void a bit, but the truth is, I miss being a mom, and in particular I miss Jake and Logan being my babies. People go on about the greatness of grandparenting, and I’m sure it will be fantastic, but being a mother was fantastic. Being a mother, with all the selfishness of saying, “That one’s mine. Yes, he is cute. Yes, he is talented. Thank you,” was amazing.

3 thoughts on “Emptied

  1. Thank you! I am so touched you could say all this now, one minute before Grandmotherhood takes that last little bit, that last lobotomy and you become unbearably overcome again. You have to have been a mother to understand. Enjoy the journey, I will enjoy hearing about it. Splendid writing.

  2. This is a beautiful post, amcory! I relate totally with it. Yes, I missed being a mother so so much. The hard times were so worth the good. But I am telling you this: You. Will. Love. Being. A. Grandmother. You think you love your children – you KNOW you do – that they are attached to the deepest strings of your heart. You feel you will never, ever love again with such intensity. I am telling you, you can. You will. A grandchild is a bit like winning the lottery of life. The jackpot. Bam – all the love, and very little of the work! Take the happiest moments with your boys and subtract the whining. That is grandchildren! Enjoy the ride – you are going to love it. And that grandbaby? With you as his Grandma, he is in for a treat as well! Congrats – I look forward to your new adventure!

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