The New Year is usually pictured as a new baby. New babies and new projects bring new excitement. They take up your time and fill up your current moment like no other thing in life and then they’re gone. You’re left like Grampa, sitting in the rocker, re-telling war stories to the grandkids.
I told my oldest son recently, that there was nothing in this world that I enjoyed more than raising him and his brother. Watching them grow up and become adults was a dream come true for me. Just hours after my second son was born, I was holding him and thinking, if only there was a way I could slow the time, just some way to bottle the hours so that I could be alone with my babies and get to know them better. But the world kept intruding. Life kept its barrage of daily needs. Some days I resented life’s onward march. On other days, I became a child and played toy cars and built Lego towers. I know there are other mothers who have felt this. My own mom hasn’t admitted it, but I’ve seen it in her face. My former mother-in-law often cried after we left from visiting on the holidays. She told me. I know she missed her son.
I wonder, is it the oxytocin? Is it the bonding in the uterus before childbirth? I also wonder if fathers feel the same emotion. Of course, it’s also possible that I hang out with a bunch of sentimental junkies and we need to get a life. Now that my children are officially grown and I still have some creative instinct left, I think I’ll set my sights towards my writing even more than before. We are all creative. In one form or another, we create something in our lives. What we create in this next year is up to each of us.
To all of my younger friends who are mothers–and boy are there a lot of you, I’m green with jealousy of your smiling faces–I wish you well this next year. I wish health and happiness, with lots of fun and laughter. I hope you can bottle up a few hours of hugs for the future. You never know when you might want to revisit one.
To all of us, in whatever creative pursuit you do this coming year, do it for your own pleasure, not because someone else thinks you would be good at it. Find the time for that one thing you’ve put off, whether it would be just sitting in the coffee shop alone for an hour, or browsing through the antique store–do it.
I think that this could be a good year. And I choose to make it one.
Here’s a poem my mom always referenced, especially the last line.
“BABIES DON’T KEEP”
Mother, O Mother, come shake out your cloth,
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
Hang out the washing, make up the bed,
Sew on a button and butter the bread.
Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She’s up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.
Oh, I’ve grown as shiftless as Little Boy Blue,
Lullabye, rockabye, lullabye loo.
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo
The shopping’s not done and there’s nothing for stew
And out in the yard there’s a hullabaloo
But I’m playing Kanga and this is my Roo
Look! Aren’t his eyes the most wonderful hue?
Lullabye, rockaby lullabye loo.
The cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow
But children grow up as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down cobwebs; Dust go to sleep!
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.