I hear the call: “Mama!” Coming from the bedroom. It’s almost 9pm. I just finished cleaning. I’m having my evening coffee and finally sitting down to write.
It has only been an hour since I transferred him to his bed from our cuddle pile.
I’m feeling resistant. Common, title dude! I need a minute! I was with you all day. I’ve been ON. You’re a toddler. It’s non stop. Give mama a break, will you? I have some shit to do.
“Maaammmaaa!!!” he’s calling.
Motherhood is calling.
So here we go again. More boob. More cuddle. More fighting myself not to fall asleep, wishing for him to fall asleep already.
I’m frustrated. But there’s this expansive softness that stretches itself into the pulse of my cells. And when I give myself into it, I remember an ancient song that has no words and has no melody, but is sang by all mothers.
I hear : “Mama!” In the middle of the night. Sometimes from two different directions at the same time. It has been three hours since I went to bed, and I only have two and a half left before I have to get up.
I don’t want to get up.
“MAMA!” It’s louder this time.
I don’t want to answer.
“MAAAAAAAMMMMMMMAAAAAAA!!!!!!” It grows even louder.
I DON’T WANNA!!!!!!!!!!
But it’s my calling. Motherhood is my calling.
So I get up. I cast away the bad dreams and toss them at the dream catcher. I pull scary thoughts out of heads and blow them into the dark and turn them into dust with magic words and silly sounds. I spray rose water mixed with lavender oil (our anti monster, zombie, ghost, demon medicine) around the room. I instruct soft and slow breathing, with one hand on the belly and the other on the heart, as I invoke unicorns, rainbows, and fairies. I keep company in the bathroom. I bring water. I kiss and hug and offer words of comfort that dispel fears and spread love and warm blankets.
I’m tired. But the soft skin of my kids beneath my sleepy kisses, sings this ancient song – no lyrics, no music, just the sweetness of breath and the silky familiarity of unspoken wisdom shared between mothers.
I am their mother. I am a mother. I am.
There’s a little “What The Fuck!?!?” In there. Me? A mother? Already? Almost 41 but feeling more like 14 most of the time. I am a mother.
There are 36 “MAMA!” Calls on the way to pick big sister up at school. They come from the back seat. They are usually not followed by anything significant. When I reply with a “Yeah?” I usually just get another: “Mama!”
It makes me smile. Even though it makes it harder and harder to make calls from the car. Or listen to an audio book. Or a podcast. Or NPR.
It’s my calling. Let go of any other agenda you had for this ride, mama! Let some music play in the background as you have the deepest conversation of your life:
“You’re seeing an airplane?”
“Yes! In the sky, Mama!”
“Yes my love?”
“Mama! Going to pick up Kesem!”
“Yep, that’s what we’re doing.”
“Kesem’s at school.”
“Yes. She’s at school. We’re on our way to pick her up.”
“Why is Kesem at school?”
It’s LA. There’s traffic. And it keeps on going.
Motherhood is my calling.
This time is precious. And there’s no other conversation I’d rather have.
Except sometime I FINALLY get together with another mama at the park. (Play dates are hard to schedule, yo!). We’re each SO excited to squeeze a word in with another adult. But each of us keeps hearing: “Mama!” From every possible direction.
Broken, meaningful conversations. That’s what we get.
Motherhood is my calling. And I have other callings too.
Most of us have more than one calling. We’re born with gifts. We accumulate interests. We cultivate our strengths. We are more than one thing. We hear our dreams whispering us into being, as they call us late at night: “Make me…”
We cycle through the seasons of our lives, and we hear life calling us to parts of ourselves, to places in the world, to roles and actions and teachings.
I hear my other callings. They sound so attractive, so appealing, so sexy.
I try to answer.
It’s important to be a person. A woman. An individual entity. Not “just” a mother.
Motherhood is viewed in such a strange way sometimes. Isn’t it twisted that some of us feel the need to apologize or explain why we’re “just” mothers?
My sister just had a baby and her friend came to visit and see the baby for the first time. “So, are you starting to go crazy with all the extra free time that you have?” She asked. First I thought she was kidding. Then I understood she was totally serious. And I realized that in general, this is how society sees maternity leave. This is how some people look at Stay At Home Mamahood.
I have so many ideas, inspirations, and dreams. I have courses to teach. Nature is calling me into solitude. Plants want me to learn their medicinal qualities. I need two degrees in psychology, and to get my massage license. I want to finish my craniosacral therapy training. There are seven books writing themselves in my head. There is so much that I’m supposed to do on this life.
And right now, “MAMA!” is woven into every attempt to answer any other call. Not just because it’s where my heart is, but also because I have no time for anything else. And unlike other things, I cannot put this one on hold.
I know that one day, “Mama!” will be a call I don’t get as often as I wish for – on a phone, or some other technological device that will make us laugh at the memory of smart phones. And I know that I will miss these days, when “MAMA!” prevented all the other calls from being answered.
So I take a breath, and I let my eyes tear up at this thought. My heart feels full and lonely and loving and lost and strong and joyful and cracked. And I answer.
“Yes, my love. I’m here for you!”
So what about you – What is your life calling you into these days? What is it obviously asking of you? And what dreams are whispering your name in the distance, hinting at what is still yet to come?
I’d love to know about your dreams and callings, so comment below and let me know – when you listen to your life right now, what is it saying?
And if you find this piece moving in any way, share it with others, will you! I would appreciate it so much!