First entry in a new journal

[lovely readers… a note of explanation. Those among you who are not mothers may be getting seriously burned out on my parade of pregnancy and motherhood-themed postings. This is not, as far as I know, going to turn into a “mommy blog.”  These are just the subjects which have preoccupied this overeducated waitress as of late. So bear with me, and we’ll see what emerges. Yr guess is as good as mine. xoxo… Sarah ]

First entry in a new journal, from August 12 2010

I have grand intentions for these pretty little blankbooks, eloquent and sparsely worded haiku-like meditations on motherhood, written in small, neat lettering.  Bought 2 of these small journals in  Boulder CO on our July roadtrip cause I’d filled up my latest fat little blackbook journal and I always do like to write on the road. Thought I ought to switch to something that squished a little more efficiently in the diaper bag.

Of course, the first time I go to write in the new journal, I can’t seem to prop it up properly (the trick of being a right-handed writer while breastfeeding on the right side, it turns out.)  When I switch him to the left side and finally get the journal propped up right on the arm of the couch I discover the pen I grabbed before I sat down is broken. Ha. I’m trying to write by holding the broken pieces together with an extra finger when he starts to flail and cry and while I’m burping him and kissing his sweet head and sighing over both hands being preoccupied and thus unavailable for writing, I realize I’m getting a lesson in precisely what I’d been planning on writing about. the Surrender of motherhood, the ways in which I am still fundamentally myself but also the ways in which i am utterly at the beck and call of another human being 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for months and months to come.  And of course, there will be lovely hours when he and his poppa get lost in making noises at each other and having adventures without me but this dairy queen will still feel the (very real physical) pangs of motherhood if too much time goes by apart from that small boy.

Get him down in his cradle and tiptoe away.  He nestles on his side with his tiny hands clasped beneath his chin, and I sit down with a fresh pen and start to laugh at myself, noting the inarticulate chicken scratches I’d managed with my broken pen and preoccupied arms.   Most of the entries in these journals will be sloppy, broken thoughts, written in sprawling handwriting interspersed with grocery lists and to-do lists and the same old mundane observations about the weather and the dogs.

So be it. I decide to make the grand gesture of taking stock of my life at the outset of the new journal.  I am 29 years old. My son is one month old. Ryan and I have been together for five years and five months. Which is randomly auspicious, as R’s always been big on the number five. We have two giant, beautiful dogs, a dear house, a giant messy thriving garden, dear friends, very little money, lots of music and way too many books. And a mangled dead rat on the front porch that gives me a writhing full-body grimace every time I think about it. I’ve told Ryan I want to confront my fear of said dead rat by being the one to remove it from our welcome mat, and he’s obliged. So it stays there.  Because I am absolutely horrified by it.  But someone is stopping by tonight who will most likely use the front door, so I’ve got to confront it.  So much for grand gestures taking stock of the state of my life. Chaotic mind, motherhood, and a dead rat. glorious.

Callum at 4 weeks, bluegrass festival in Lyons CO



Filed under motherhood, Ordinary

2 responses to “First entry in a new journal

  1. Stephanie

    I have only just recently discovered your blog as I am trying to discover my own “voice” in writing and being a mom, a barista, woman, photographer, friend…something to everyone. A coffee customer told me about your writing. I loved what you said in this post about starting a new journal with such pristine hopes and expectations, only to end up with sprawling, sloppy entries and lists. I do that too and I end up loving that part of it, my life, just as much. It was only when I stopped waiting to have the perfect, well-thought-out entries that I loosened up enough to write at all. Your post brought back so many great memories of when my children were babies and that connection with nursing that wove our lives together. My youngest, of three, is now 14 and taller than me. This tiny baby boy who nursed so purposefully and then became the toddler who sought me out first thing every morning, is now 6 feet tall and wears a size 11 shoe! Sigh.

    “The Surrender of motherhood, the ways in which I am still fundamentally myself but also the ways in which i am utterly at the beck and call of another human being 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for months and months to come.”

    I can totally relate to what you wrote. The Surrender is completely transforming, all-consuming like a fire. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. This 47 year old, mother of 3, wife of one for 27 years, owner of many books and a lovely big dog, appreciates hearing that other young mothers are still throwing themselves whole-heartedly into motherhood. I applaud you.

    Oh, whatever happened with the rat? Ewww

    • sarahalisabethfox

      what a dear note to find. “something to everyone” is such a profound observation, particularly on the tail of the comment that you’re trying to bring your own voice to the surface.
      something to everyone… but what to you? how do we define ourselves when we take others out of the equation? this has really got me thinking.
      I’m thrilled you came across the blog, (feeling sort of famous and giddy that someone liked my blog enough to mention it to their barista while she made their coffee.)
      honored to hear something i wrote resonated with a seasoned mother and artist.
      my husband moved the rat.

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