On many days it seems that I am not much more than a maker of food, a cleaner of spills, a organizer of activities. And under all that mundane, there is just not much left. It's so easy to forget that there is a real live person under those necessities who has needs and wants and desires and interests and passions. Or at least a real live person who used to have those things.
So where is that person now? I know she's in there somewhere, and hanging onto that person is essential to remaining sane. Photographer friend told me that her link to her former self is going out and talking shop with other grown-ups, maybe only mentioning her two daughters in passing. Because in that circle, they aren't the glue. They aren't the most important thing, or only thing defining her or connecting her to those other adults. Don't get me wrong, the kid connection is hugely important and the women I have met through my kids have saved my life.
But being a mom isn't the be all, end all. I think that having a newborn has made that much more difficult for me to remember. It seems that having another baby has pushed me farther away from myself because I am nurturer and protector and everything to this new puny human. My wants, my needs, my passions are virtually nonexistent because of this other incredibly important person who I love dearly.
Still, I know the old me is in there and I'm staying connected every once in a while. My link is dancing. I loved going dancing when I was in high school (I met Father in Chief in a roundabout way though a very cheesy club in Western New York called the Yellow Jaguar back in 1989), I loved it in college (Venus de Milo, Avalon, TT The Bears, and others in Boston--especially because my college sweetheart was in a band and I was one of the most dedicated fans), and here and there in the San Francisco Bay Area for the past 10 years. Most recently at the Little Fox Theatre while my three-week-old baby was home with FIC.
Dancing reminds me that I'm still me, even if I smell like spoiled milk and you can see my breast pads under my shirt. I'll probably out there shaking my groove-thang when I'm 75--and for those few hours I'll feel like I'm timeless, ageless, and childless. I know that dancing isn't the be all, end all either. And it's not more important than my kids. But we all need something fun once in a while just for us.