I am reading about a woman, just another one of us. With similar problems, husband and children, a job that comes and then goes, she often finds herself feeling lonely, at home, behind the stove, with a dust cloth and vacuum cleaner in her hands, and the distinct feeling that everything is not as it should be. She writes about the stress and demands, even alien feeling of her role as a mother. Having four kids that require her attention day and night, Mom this, Mom that, the chain of needs and demands never ends, and they overwhelm her sometimes. Not because of a lack of love, but because it’s a lot to handle – sometimes it’s too much to handle on her own. And then there is society demanding perfection, even though she isn’t and probably never will be, because she doesn’t feel alright in her own skin, and she feels that she might deserve more. Far be it that children aren’t perfection, it’s just that a feminine side is missing, all of what she used to be, and the unpleasant sensation that she lost herself somewhere along the way.
Next, I read a story about this same woman, who gets a divorce, and the children decide to stay with their father, and that is when the flood of questions starts to come over her; was she ever a good mother? A mother, such a simple word, with so many shades. Some of them remain forbidden, off limits, like the fact that every child is a great challenge for the couple, because for some time, at least, they lose their right to the most basic things, such as seeing a movie in an open-air theatre, going for a walk along the sea, taking a weekend off at the spa, or have a peaceful chat in the living room. And the right to silence here and there. I have a little girl of my own at home, and she takes up all of me, so it’s hard for me to imagine having four. And yet, sometimes, quietly, bashfully and with respect for new life, it crosses my mind that perhaps I would like to hold those miniature feet again, get lost inside a baby’s eyes, which have no end and remain mysterious and wise, are quiet and inquisitive, the eyes that stir up feelings deep within your heart, take hold there, and never let you go again.
Our female nature can be wild. Fairy voices can become so loud and clear inside your head, you quickly get the feeling that it’s perfectly alright to think about a different sort of life, about your purpose, and about whether you’ve already missed a shade and will never catch it again. My shades are like that … wild, often elusive, and free. On one hand, I would go back, on the other hand, I wouldn’t really. I would sooner arrange an extra life, a bonus that would enable me to make fewer mistakes, be more curious and open to new paths without fear and without a rock to protect me. I’m a proponent of sincerity, but sometimes it’s too painful and almost unnecessary, and that is when I become a proponent of silence, which is mine alone, and nobody can take it away from me.
I read a story about a woman who was looking for her own self in the midst of a family confusion. She didn’t have a lot of desires: to read books in the evenings, to go for coffee with her friends on a nice afternoon, to go to the pool on a Saturday evening … But it was all unfeasible. A matter of organisation? I’m not so sure, it’s more about women being torn, and there always being somebody pulling at our sleeve, demanding something. And so the story turns into a nightmare, with a mother who turns into a step-mother, a stranger who disappears from the lives of her children, because there are resentments, words that hurt, trouble you can sense in the air around you, like spider webs above your head, too high to be able to dust off. This mother accepts her loneliness in the end. Unbelievable, isn’t it? She is a mother of four children and she is ultimately alone. She reconnects with them after a few years, tries to pick things up from where they left off, partly she charms them again, but there is still a part of them that will never return.
I suppose, sometimes there is no turning back. I read about her single life, about how she went back to the city where she used to live as a student, but the apartment feels sad and empty without her children, their voices, laughter and tears, even those words, Mom this, Mom that … Because we often end up missing exactly what irritates us initially, only to later realise that the things we take for granted, actually matter most.