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I SAVED HER
I spent a decade losing her, letting her dive into motherhood, way over her head, without a single lifeline around to save her from drowning. There was no stopping her. I watched her float and flail and float again (and flail again) through the inevitable, suffocating and tumultuous waves of motherhood, and we thrived on her ability to stay afloat, on only her selflessness and unconditional love for her babies. And I was in awe of her, like any good martyr would be.
But as she floated on the genuine joys of motherhood, she slowly drifted away, sinking into the deep, lonely, unappreciated depths of self-sacrifice. Losing her was a blissfully slow process through 15 years of genuinely loving and dedicated stay-at-home-motherhood. I lost sight of her completely but convinced myself that she was somewhere out there, happily struggling and still (barely) keeping her head above water. I often looked to her partner, standing on the shores, and wondered why it never occurred to him to throw her a lifeline.
I never stopped thinking about that strong woman we were celebrating in her mid twenties (just before she proudly and euphorically crowned herself "Mom") and the declaration we made to honor her, always. And while I knew motherhood was an honor for her, I missed that chick who knew damn well that she was relevant too. And I've spent the last few years trying to find her.
I had to dive down deep to reach her. I had to lift the weight of the burden to meet every selfish demand from those who thrive on her selflessness, and ease the guilt of the stubborn determination and inevitable failures that weighed her down. I had to convince her to release her firm grip on a lover/partner who was never really holding on all that tight to her to begin with and who had let her slip into irrelevance. I had to convince her children to release her from their crippling but age-appropriate selfishness and resentment, and to value her happiness even a fraction as much as she values theirs, and to trust that she is capable and strong enough to fight for herself almost as hard as she fights for them. I had to convince her that she mattered, just as much as those people that she loved more than she loved herself. I had to reminded her of the joys of chasing sunsets and her own desires. I had to save her. I had to.
I've been dragging her tired soul and all of her baggage the whole time, but she was just as determined as I was, and I refused to let her give up… "Charge through it. You've come this far. Take all the beatings. Tend to the hurt of everyone around you even as your heart bleeds and they continue to throw salt in your wounds. Charge through it. Fight for it. You're worth it." And here we are…
I found her. I saved her. And this next decade, I'm going spoil the hell out of her.
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