I first became a Mother ten years ago. I wasn't a natural. I was scared and lonely and very sad. I felt guilty. The guilt was overwhelming and I slipped quietly into a dim place. I functioned there. After all, it was familiar to me. I had been there before. I mothered my beautiful child. I loved him fiercely and I took care of him, but none of it made me happy. Guilt. He grew and blossomed and it was a wonder to behold. How did the other mothers manage to sleep and eat and have sex? How did they go on to have other children? The people who loved me must have seen what was happening. Nothing. Perhaps this was motherhood and I was not designed for happiness. Guilt again. To be thinking of such things, now, on the first anniversary of the birth of my second son, marks this day for me with clarity. Today's joy, and it is the truest joy I have ever experienced, is appropriately bittersweet amidst the memories. This wasn't my experience on the first birthday of my first son. He was cheated. I cheated him of a happy mother. I am here now and I'm amazed and grateful for that. I no longer feel the guilt for what could have been. I've moved past that.
The fear though, hasn't completely gone. It lurks in the corners and at the edges. They are dark and threaten to creep back into my days. But they don't. And I awake again each morning full of peace. There is a brightness I have never before seen. And it is so light that I cry when I attempt to describe it. I believe it to be happiness.
I thought I would write about fried chicken and tomato salad and sewing projects and baby presents on this day. And perhaps I will do so tomorrow, but for now, I share with you, my friends-without-faces thoughts which are dominating my moments. And I feel joy.