11/23/09

Mother of a six-year-old

It's hard to write about being the mother of a six-year-old. Edie's birthday was on the 18th and it's taken me five days to be able to begin a new blog post. It's not so much that I'm an emotional wreck, or can't believe where the time went or that she's this old--it's just that so much is getting away from me lately. In some ways I've never been happier and in some ways I'm completely fragile. I've been sitting here staring at the screen trying to think of how to articulate it all. Generally articulating things isn't difficult for me--usually I simply begin writing and the words flow and those words help me to figure out and organize what I feel and where I am with my work, with motherhood, with seeing and shooting and being. But now, oddly, words fail me.

There's so much that seems to be going on in the back of my brain, behind the scenes. My dreams are wild and strange--being bit on the tip of my finger by an escaped lion in a mall in the Netherlands with a group of people from college is only a tiny fraction of what I dreamt last night. And here I am once again staring at the wall, wondering what to say next, what to tell you. I really did feel the urge to post--that excitement to convey my perspective was strong as I walked the stairs to my office. But as soon as I tried to think of what to say, well--here we are.

Here we are and I'm at a loss so I'll say what needs to be said about my Edie: she's active and skinny and wild--she climbs the molding in our house, inching up until she can hang from the top. She's obsessed with the monkey bars and swinging from trees and jumping and playing. It's a level of activity I haven't witnessed to this extent in her before--it's an energy that is at once overwhelming and beautiful and maddening. Something in her is breaking free, but she hasn't yet learned how to contain it, how to stop climbing when she smashes a picture on the floor, how to part from the tree in the dark in the cold without shoes.

That level of concentration comes to play when she constructs things out of boxes and paper, when she draws and plays games. Her moments of stillness happen at those times, as she focuses, or listens to a book, or of course in front of the TV. She's crazy about June and asks her to play and they concoct these complicated games with dolls and toys, and then when they get angry they hit and scream and screech. Maybe my inability to write is because of this intensity--the extremes of noise and activity, which suddenly shut off when they go to school, and then the silence is a relief and odd all at once. Edie is who she has always been and more so, and her intensity seems to be matched by my intensity of feeling for her--my love is a force, an energy in its own right. It's that feeling of wanting to devour your children, partly because they're so delicious and partly because sometimes you just want to shut them up. Being a mother is a wild, wild thing.

7 comments:

Liz said...

When I read this post, I realized something: This post, this blog, your photographs . . . they're what I hope my mother would've said or felt about me if she'd been a photographer or written a blog. They're what I think most people would want to think that their parents felt about them. And the more I thought about that, the more I fell in love with photography in general (even though I didn't think it was possible for me to love it more), because I hope what people see in my photographs are the things they miss, too, the world that they can't see somehow. And aren't we all doing that in some way or another? Showing other people what we see and how we feel?

tomleininger said...

There is a quote bouncing around my head along the lines of have you seen kids play that is serious work.
Or something. I can't remember who said it. Thanks for the post.

sabine roehl said...

beautiful.

Terri Fischer said...

this post, your uncertainty, child-devouring, everything, really resonated with me. i feel it. all of it.

Angela Bacon-Kidwell said...

Part of being a woman artist for me is learning to rest in motion, like lying down in a boat. And, a heavy duty life jacket never hurts. I really enjoy your posts. I'm right there with you.

Elizabeth Fleming said...

Liz--Honestly I think that's one of the nicest comments I've ever gotten here on the blog. Really, I'm pretty much speechless--so, thank you.

Tom, I feel like I've heard that too. Very apt.

Sabine, Terri and Angela, thanks to all of you too--Angela, I love the metaphor, it's perfect.

Ronald said...

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