The long, crazy path to becoming a SAHM
Posted on February 15, 2013
I’ve never been one to shy from change.
I’ve lived in five states. I’ve had five roommates. I’ve paid power bills in 10 cities (no, Dad, I am not counting home — and thank you for 18 years of free power!).
Four cats and two dogs have counted on me to feed them.
I’ve worked with governors, state legislators, mayors, city council, kind souls and rude jackasses. In almost every case, I’ve written speeches they delivered, talking points they consulted and emails they deleted. I made many of them laugh.
It took a week of over-exerting myself and being a crazy smiley person, but I got cranky Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to smile and wave at me — however reluctantly.
(I lost five pounds that week. I’ve since found about 40.)
I bought my first suit as a grad student in Washington, D.C.; I bled on it after running to catch the Metro and gouging myself with my heel.
My first “real” pair of heels carried me all over Los Angeles, from press rooms to press conferences, from protests to parties. We parted ways amicably when one of their thin leather ankle straps snapped irreparably after a 16-hour day. I miss those heels. I miss the naiveté they took with them.
I never thought I’d have children. I’ve feared I’d never have children. Within 18 months, I had two children.
I’ve awoken to be introduced to my first child, blonde and tiny. I’ve watched as my second child emerged from behind a screen, screeching mad and red with newness.
Sometimes her temper tantrums today remind me of that moment.
I’ve held an animal as she took her last breath. And then I held her some more. I shut her soft lids and pressed my face into her matted fur.
I’ve felt my heart detach from my soul, and I’ve watched my soul find its mate.
I’ve snarled at people I should have hugged. I’ve hugged people I should have swiped from my peripheral vision with a 33-foot pole.
I’ve made tiny, nearly invisible errors and loud, sweeping mistakes that boomerang humility and self-doubt.
I’ve eaten humble pie and declined live snails.
I’ve known someone would be my friend until the day I die, and I’ve watched a friendship pass away slowly of neglect.
I spent the first 36 years of my life worried mostly about myself.
I’ve spent the last three years worried mostly about a little boy named Charlie.
I don’t worry about Mary Emma. I marvel at her.
Now, I’m on the brink of a new change. It’s so close, I can smell its breath. But it’s still dark, and I can’t quite make out its edges. I can’t tell if it’s welcoming or threatening.
I’m about to become an initialism. I’m about to become a SAHM*.
I want to be a writer when I grow up.
I want to help my children grow up to be strong advocates for good, with weaknesses for compassion, empathy and grit.
I want to see them each marry their soul mate.
I want to see them each graduate.
I want to protect them. I want to be the one mom on the planet who doesn’t embarrass her kids. I want to make birthday cakes from scratch.
It no longer matters what I want.
My children are everything. The Husband and I are the team coaches. We’re running out of time to practice.
I’m ready. Let’s do this.
*SAHM – Stay-at-home Mother (Please let me cling to an initialism as one last connection to corporate America!)