When I was a mother to a precious little 7-month old baby girl who slept quite a lot and nursed quite a lot, smiled and laughed, and never, ever talked back, I remember reading a blog entry by a woman who was parenting 3 little ones. Her children were about 1.5-2 years apart and her youngest was just a baby. She was writing about how she felt as though her life was breaking open. That she was leaving the past behind and that somehow in this family-with-three children, an outward casing that she had always imagined was herself was being cracked and chipped away to reveal something she hadn't realized was her true being.
I had no idea what she was talking about.
Over the last three years, things have changed a bit. And now I, too, feel as though I am breaking open -- peeling and cracking and sloughing off what I have been to become this thing that I didn't see before and didn't know and yet, am, at the most real level. I don't know how to describe it in my own words except to say that I am at this parenting precipice that I have been approaching for a while -- a ledge off of which I have been leaning, slowly shifting more and more of my weight forward, to the extent that now I am quite certain that my center of gravity is before me, not behind me, and it is out of my control. I'm going over the ledge.
Behind me, lay my past life -- one that was largely self-centered and self-directed and self-controlled, to the extent that one can ever control one's life. That life was self-ordered by ideas I almost completely understood and was most certainly right about. It was my life -- mine, mine, mine. And what it was or wasn't was my creation --my credit, my fault, whatever -- mine. It may have been largely illusory, but it was my illusion! :)
Before me, off of this parenting precipice, is this life that I can't quite imagine. It feels like it is this completely real place compared to where I have been and that ownership of it just doesn't and won't ever belong to me. That life out there before me is largely one of sacrifice and service. It is other-centered. And from this place, I don't know how to create it. I don't know how to manage it. It is something I don't understand and can't grasp and know that I have no ability to navigate on my own. It feels as though "out there" is where the Spirit is, though. And so that's where I need to be.
Over the last three years, I have seen this precipice approaching and I've been terrified of it. In many ways, because I can't see it, I am scared of it. But I have a sense that when I let go of whatever life (or death) line it is to which I am clinging from the old life, I will have a choice to either fall into the new life and as I fall, see this great beyond as some sort of void -- dangerous and scary and overwhelming and thus, be resentful of the lack of control. Or, and obviously this is the better choice -- I will have a choice to jump forth in faith and allow myself to be caught up in a wave of grace which I know -- I know, I know, I know -- will buoy me with wisdom and resources and guidance. I have this sense that the wave is not only there, but if I choose to ride it, that I will feel a joy and freedom that I've longed for all the while slogging through the life up above the cliff. But it won't be of my own making. And it is just a matter of whether I will have faith enough to trust it.
So. Did any of you other moms out there feel like this at some point? Is there just a point when you crack up, or open, or take the leap, or don't?