becoming a mom has really got me thinking.. i know. hard to believe. i find that most of the day im looking for my brain, and the other half of the day trying to remember where the last place i put it was.. but while my brain is lost, it does a lot of thinking outside my body. the thing i've been thinking about most lately is what is this all about? k, whoa, that's big. let's back up..
this summer, i ran into someone i went to high school with. i think the last time i saw her WAS high school. we were definitely not close in school, but we both have facebook, so we've heard about what the other has been up to all these years in between. she then asked me 'so what do you do?' without even thinking (the brain was lost again..), i said that i still worked for a company that i had quit a few months before. we spoke for a few more minutes, wished each other good luck, and went our separate ways. i couldn't believe myself. WHY did i do that? what was so embarrassing??
my husband and i have, thank G-d, been blessed with 2 children in our 2 years of marriage. my pregnancies are very hard, especially the last one because i was running after my 10 month old. i'm basically sick the whole 9 months. the sickness, the nausea, the fatigue, the hormones, the bloating, the heartburn, the aches and pains.. and then still having to cope with life! it turns me into one big FAT complaint. the baby is born, and its miraculous and beautiful and bonding, which brings upon it's own challenges. i have had some really hard days as a mother, some of the hardest i've ever had in my life.. was i embarrassed that these are my challenges?
i have many friends who have been married a lot longer than me who don't have children yet. their challenges look very different than mine. their thoughts, their fears, the treatment, the prayers, the tension, it's the most painful thing. all they want is to bear a child of their own and everything that comes with it. is it embarrassing to want this? is it embarrassing to dedicate all your whole child bearing years to try to conceive just one child? makes me want to stop complaining.
then i think of the opposite. i know many people who CHOSE not to get married, and hate children. they have dogs, they have 'relationships' here and there, living for themselves.. maybe they know that this is a petty existence, but i know that there are people who really dont realize what they missed out by not building a family, even as a couple. i wonder how they would have changed had they been put in the situation. we're seeing the person at 50 years old not being a giver. maybe they would be completely different people if they had been married for 25 years. i think what a waste. there are people who are dying to have children, and you are choosing to deprive yourself of the challenge to extend your potential as a human being, to increase your love. i think these people have more reason to feel embarrassed.
i then think about G-d, and how He hides Himself. the whole world is an illusion, nothing is as it seems. i think about how the most miraculous, incredible, moments of life can first appear as dark, scary, even intolerable. like birth. (now remember my pregnancies). then you go into labor. you think you're going to die. everything is so intense. it's so easy to get lost and forget what's happening. when the baby comes out, it's practically painless, you feel euphoric, and all of a sudden your eyes open. you're taken aback. you think, what just happened? was that me? was that me that was so scared and about to quit 5 minutes ago, and now i'm holding LIFE in my hands?
it's so easy to lose sight of everything, and get caught up in stupidities. all i see is that both my children are screaming (VERY LOUD), this one is constipated (again), she's hungry (again), he's eating out of the garbage (unfortunately, again).
another dirty diaper, another change of clothes, another day of doing the same thing.
but there are also smiles, new discoveries, adventures, achievements (even if it is getting into the garbage, even after you've barricaded the area). there have been days where the only joy i got out of my kids was when they fell asleep (finally) for the night. and i think to myself, gosh, they're lucky they're so cute. and even though they can complain the whole day, they are completely dependent on me, and are so helpless. their cries are their tools of communication (even when im sitting right next to them and INSIST that i can hear them!) and im reminded that im not in control, and am humbled so deep into the ground that i can swear its getting hotter and one more kilometer and we're inside the core of the Earth.. i never had any of these experiences before i became a mom.
those people who chose not to build a family are fools, and i pray for the people who are trying to conceive that it should be soon. though these years have been hard, i have grown tremendously and i would never trade them.
my quarter life crisis has gotten me thinking (i know, more thinking.. ps if you SEE my brain..) where do i start and where do i end? is there something else that i'm meant to tap into or dedicate time towards?
or am i doing exactly what i'm meant to be doing right now? do people look back at their lives and say 'gosh, i should have spent more time in the office' or 'i wish that i dated more people before i married my soul mate'? i look back at the big decisions ive made since im 17, which include not finishing my degree, moving far away from my parents, choosing to live an orthodox life style, and getting married when i was 21, i dont regret any of them. obviously i wish that i lived closer to my family. obviously had i finished my degree, my opportunities would be greater. but had i chosen those paths, i wouldn't have met my husband, nor would i be living with him, building a family, growing individually and as a couple, in the most holy place on Earth. it wouldn't be the same if we lived in LA (or South Africa, for that matter).
that girl from high school graduated from a top university, had a stable well paying job, single, living it up and partying.. sounds great. here i am. married to the man of my dreams, building a family with him, living in jerusalem.. we live simply because we're in kollel..but i've never been happier. life could be hard and challenging, but i'm happy. i might end up going back to school so that i can get a more meaningful job, or find work in an area that gives me opportunities for personal expression. just like everything in life, it will have its time. right now, my life is consumed of keeping up my house, making meals, nursing the baby, changing diapers, playing/singing, etc. but i'm also comforting my babies cries, making a positive atmosphere, filling the house with good scents (a mixture of sephardic food and fabric softener), making my husband feel appreciated when he comes home, and that makes me happy. what could be more rewarding? a hard day at the office isn't more rewarding. how many people would die to be in my situation?
i dont have anything to be embarrassed about.