Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Non-Mom? Ex-mom? Mom-graduate? Post-mom?

Isobel Crawley, in the first episode of this season's Downton Abbey, says something about how when your only child dies, you're not really a mother anymore.  It is heartbreaking and, on a very minor level, I related somewhat, only in the way that my child is no longer around me and lives 957 miles away.  (this was a very satisfactory season after last season's two gut-punch deaths, no?)

How will the people who meet me from this point forward know that I am a mother?  And how that role has helped to refine my goals, pushed me to succeed, and introduced me to an incredible community of like-minded women?  It is a sad reality that when a woman becomes a mother that her friends are forever delineated into "mom friends" and "non-mom friends."  I am in a very odd position now where the majority of my "mom friends" still have younger children at home.  I need more "non-mom friends" now.  I spend a lot of time alone and so far that  has been a good thing.

A few weeks ago I listened to Terry Gross' interview with a Jennifer Senior who has written possibly the all-time best-titled book on parenting, All Joy, No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood.  I perked during the interview when Senior talked about studies that prove how differently men and women react to empty nests.  She said that women, who people expect to feel sad and lonely, are usually much happier when the children move out and men tend to be sadder.  Perhaps this is due to relief that women feel, no longer having to be the taskmaster, schedule-organizer, or chore-reminder.   For women the hardest part is over!  The men just notice the emptiness in the house.  This is certainly true in my case.  I wish I had a dollar for every time someone has looked at me with genuine concern in her eyes and asked if I'm "doing okay since Stella moved out?"  I AM DOING GREAT!  I feel like I have nothing but free time.  FREE TIME, y'all.  What is that?  I binge watch television shows and movies.  I spend hours making paper flowers and weird art projects that will never go anywhere.  I decide at 9pm that I want to make black bean soup from scratch.  Long walks in the sunshine with podcasts and music.  Falling asleep on the couch covered in cats.  Drinks with friends on weeknights.  Weekends completely free.  It's overwhelming.  I can't get over how much TIME I have to myself.  It is glorious.  While I hate my body, don't even want to think about dating anyone, and am disgusted with my lack of organizational skills and unfinished house, I have probably never felt so happy and fulfilled.  The biggest pressure I now feel is doing something productive with all this time.  For the past almost-19 years I've had the best excuse for never having time - I was a single mother.

So now what??

I guess just keep coming back here?  I'll keep you posted?  It's like my brain is overloaded with ideas and plans, all jostling at the gate for attention, each one wanting to tumble out first, and I have to sort them out and decide which ones take precedence.

In the meantime - enjoy these things to look at!

Following up on last week's post about Kroll Show - this clip kills me.  Seth Morris (the first guy you see) is so perfect it's painful:

And some photos from the past month or so, since I uploaded from my big camera at least:

I went to the Kings River Overlook exactly a year ago on MLK weekend, remember?

Childhood friend Zippy who is very good about organizing and following through on hiking trips.  Those are good friends to have - the ones who follow through instead of just always saying "Oh yeah...I love to go hiking; we should go sometime"

Shadows and light

Ozark rock formations covered in moss are my favorites.  I might have taken some moss to try to grow at my house.  Looks like there's plenty to spare, though.

See this guy on the left?  I was trying to sneakily take his picture because he was wearing an amazing BEAR HAT. 

The zooming-in, trying to be stealthy act wasn't working so well - as you can see.  SO....

We just drove up next to him, I rolled down my window and asked if I could take his picture.  That made him really proud.  And resulted in a much better photo.  Way to go, bear-hat biker dude.  That might not actually be a bear.  In that case - way to go, furry animal hat dude. 

My friend Pearl sang at the first Ozark Mountain Music Fest, which was really just a ploy to get a bunch of people to stay at the Basin Park Hotel.  It was the only location for the performers.  Still fun, though.

Neon green house against Jacob's Ladder, the most treacherous stairs in all of Eureka Springs.  I guess this color is approved by the Historic District Commission

My favorite country church.  Winona Church and School

While usually locked, I do know someone who had her wedding here.  I think they open it only a few times a year.

Pressed my camera against the dirty window so you can see the wooden benches and original wood stove in the center of the aisle.

Better view of the wood stove (and window dirt).

When I was a kid & teenager this building was always unlocked.  We would come here and just poke around.

Sweet little Winona Church.

I drive past it every time I go out to the Kings River and always mean to stop and take pictures.  I'll have to do it again when the trees have leaves and flowers are blooming. 

I got a new camera lens and have to practice on SOMEthing, like Vega here.  And my messy couch, thankfully blurred in the background. 

My beautiful sister, Jessy.

I looked out my kitchen window two weeks ago and Benjamin was just sitting there.  Just sitting and looking around.  He's so weird. 

Last weekend I finally got to visit my favorite other family, the Carrs!  Here is Liam, almost three and handsome as can be.

With his  Auntie C (and a boo boo on his lip)

Blue eyes from his mama

There ya have it.  Until I'm ready to unveil my plans for world domination, that is. 

1 comment:

Carrie said...

I almost gagged laughing so hard at the Ponytales episode. I need to watch more. Thank you for the photos...yes I really like your new lens. Also, I listened to the NPR podcast in your post. Really helps alot. Love your fury of posting, Alannah, keep it up! Please!