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welcome to my planet

This is the online accompaniment to the column I write bi-monthly for the New Mexico Free Press, where I also work as Art Director. If you don’t read the paper, or happen to miss a dispatch, you’ll find everything printed and even more here!

Welcome…from the Free Press, issue two, March 12, 2008

It’s past midnight and the children are finally asleep. In this settling peace I sit with my fingers poised over the keyboard, and ponder the best way to sum up my experience as a mother. Words elude me. It isn’t like I invented this state of being Mom, so why am I stuck? Is it because I’ve been jumping from one thing to another all night without a quiet moment? The harried preparation of dinner (organic mac & cheese and nuked taquitos on plastic plates) punctuated by pleas for help with both second- and sixth-grade level math, all mixed up with a tight deadline for a design client and a heavy helping of marbles hitting the wood floor as the kids play with their new marble track …. I’m breathless just writing about it. I can hardly remember my children’s names, much less string a coherent sentence together.
Yet though it is late, and sleep seems far away, I am slowly gathering my sanity again and reconnecting with what this all means. This act of mothering is life in the raw. There are moments that threaten to unhinge me, followed closely by those that offer a glimpse of enlightenment. Mothers speak freely of how our children are born yet we sometimes forget that our identities are born each time a little person woven by our own blood takes a breath for the first time.
I am a four-time veteran of this rebirth. Soren came first. He is my golden boy who stole my heart when he first looked up at me through squinty newborn eyes. I haven’t been the same since that first glance. Now at age 13 he’s nearly as tall as I am and already has larger feet (this is really saying something since I wear a woman’s 9). Nobody knows what color the sky is in his world. My sweet, red-headed boy is interminably out to lunch but always cheerful, even when prodded repeatedly to complete his schoolwork.
Mirabai, my brown-eyed girl, is two years younger than Soren. She prides herself on her goofy sense of humor and is obsessed with naming things. Her ears are Steve and Christina and the ravens we saw on the way to school the other morning were apparently named Joanna and Michael (who goes by Mike). He was the bouncy one.
Chiara is the second redhead in the immediate family and even more spacey than her older brother. She is my girl in limbo, who feels like a constant third wheel with her siblings. Still, she’s usually happy. She particularly likes to talk to herself and is completely swept away by the Hannah/Mylie phenomenon (no last names needed, unless you don’t happen to have a pre-tween daughter).
Last but never least (he wouldn’t stand for it) is three-year-old Graysen. This miniature force of nature is sleeping next to me on the couch right now. He was the last to give in to sleep, which is not unusual. This child was a night owl even before he was born. Back then, he’d start up the fetal aerobics at about the time his dad returned home from work—2 a.m. A knee rippling beneath my skin here, an elbow there, as if in greeting. It was cute. Once he was born, however, this cuteness turned into what we began to call the late-night dance party. And since we could barely keep our eyes open, it wasn’t cute. But he’s wired that way, and despite our best efforts we’ve failed miserably at resetting that screwy inner clock of his. Life with Graysen is never boring.
But is it interesting enough to write about? With four kids I don’t travel much. I don’t engage in high-risk activities. Peak experiences are pretty few and far between, and I tend to think that those are what must fuel personal writing. I am also aware that there are people out there who would rather chew on roadkill than read about another Jane Doe’s passel of sproglets. So, I figured that until I was faced with something fabulously compelling, I’d just keep a lid on things and go about my days.
Then I realized something. I crave the very edge of life but it’s quite rare that such events define the overall course of things. Life is that ebb and flow that is as interesting as one makes it. If you’re sick of reading motherly dispatches, I can grok that. But if you, like me, wake up every morning to find smallish feet in your face…if you, like me, find that your days are all about other people’s mundane details (particularly if those details involve such things as the placement of Hello Kitty hair ornaments, appropriate application of sparkly lip gloss, and toothpaste-tube-squeezing lessons)…if you, like me, have anything whatsoever to do with other people’s butt hygiene (or if you ever used to be concerned with this)…if you, like me, decided on a passionate whim (or four) to create something so precious that someone once likened this act of creation to allowing your heart to walk around on the outside of your body for the rest of your life…then I hope you enjoy this journal. This is one crazy, fabulous planet!

4 Comments leave one →
  1. February 1, 2009 2:12 am

    I love your work!

  2. Dawn Kawahara permalink
    June 25, 2009 9:36 pm

    I just enjoyed reading this once again, Ana. . .
    Since I, too, had four active children and lived the same sort of mother/(writer) life, I could well appreciate your discoveries couched in humor that doesn’t quite put the lid on that deeper, connected learning that occurs between creative, deep-thinking, loving mothers and their children.
    I’m going to send this blog on to my daughter-in-love Ella, Chris’ wife, now mother to a most active 1-1/2 yr. old girl child named Isabella Dawn Gilbert–and Chris and she married in their 40s!!!
    Much love to you, and keep up the good writing/documenting/living and loving–DO!

  3. February 6, 2010 9:05 am

    Hey, great blog…but I don’t understand how to add your site in my rss reader. Can you Help me, please 🙂

  4. February 25, 2010 10:39 am

    Hey very nice blog!!….I’m an instant fan, I have bookmarked you and I’ll be checking back on a regular….See ya 🙂

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