It was Dolly family time at the Museum of Fine Arts Sunday. Perfect way to spend a dreary in between fall and winter rainy cold kinda day. Any chance at exploring uncharted waters of the city and I am in. You know, to pretend like you’re the cool bohemian city chick you always wanted to be when you were 22 that just drops by the MOFA to be all in touch with your hipster artistic side….but with a Baby Bjorn on. Lyla’s getting to a point now where she will take in an unfamiliar room with solid stares for like 30 minutes – never seen the kid so quiet. So I thought it would be a fun experiment to show her the bold, lit colors of Norman Rockwell, or let her warm porcelain hand touch the cold stone of king’s statues that were recently dug up from hidden tunnels in Egypt’s majestic pyramids built thousands of years ago. Seriously, just let that settle for a second – basically your grandfather + 29 fathers in front of him kind of years ago. We are so getting buried like this.
As we strolled through the maze of history at our fingertips, I noticed a theme as we passed by the ice white marble statues frozen in time in the grand entrance. Or down the Italian Renaissance hallway decorated with countless works of The Virgin Child. And into the photography showcase that I was begging Troy to navigate us to. Lastly there it was as we stared at the Art of Americas with it’s wealthy self-portraits taking up most of the imitated 19th century wallpaper because of the golden frame’s monstrous sizes. Caught my eye every time…
I couldn’t escape all of the historical artists’ portrayal of this profound relationship and it’s beautiful innocence. It seemed to be what was most valued of women dating back to when art was first called art on the dusty cave walls. Where woman was painted, there two angelic bare-bottomed children played in the soft grass below her. A special connection from the showcased moms seeped into me as Lyla cruised through the museum tied to my body.
Oh, you felt that too? was all I could gather from their adoring looks onto their children.
MOTHERLY LOVE. Where the hell does it come from?
Gain 40lb. for someone I’ve never met? Sure. Who does that?? But then we’re introduced. And my eyes can no longer even get past the reflection of my arms constantly pulling her in so close to disguise the midsection blubber below that remains. The endorphins she secretes blind my insecurities. But maybe that’s just because I haven’t looked in the mirror naked in 8 months.
And who goes through labor and wants to do it again??? As my long-lost sister friend Season put it, the ring of fire. Burns like no other. Could not have hit the nail on the head any more perfect than that girlfriend. We sweat, we push, we tear. Not as in drops of happy salty clear liquid from the eyes tear. As in torn. Pulled apart. Ripped. Ouch.
That birth day you attest to only your curious, younger sister “Oh. my. god, it hurt like hell was in my vagina. The worst pain I’ve ever experienced. I don’t know if I can do this again.” The following day after a night in with your sweetly burrito-wrapped newborn by your bedside, you swear you’re having 4 more.
We give over our breasts that used to perk up nicely in a string bikini, in order to produce milk that has to be extracted 6 times a day by a device that I’d like to throw out the window by now. Somehow developing 8 octopus arms to multitask the 20-minute milk sessions into an orchestra of pumping, bottle feeding, burping, emailing, music jamming, speaker phoning, baby playing, and husband conversing - who was never allowed to look below my chin while in session for fear of permanently damaging his brain with images of uttering nipples. I love that only moms who pump will know what pleasant image I’m talking about here.
Sleep – who needs it? It used to take an act of God moving mountains in order for my parents to get me out of bed for 10th grade. There was loud whistling, clapping, yelling, and even afghan removals into the crisp morning air of the Snow Capital. I’m pretty sure I was late 174 of the 180 days in a school year. Present day, a blip of a whisper comes from that video monitor, and I’m all Big Brother studying the night vision screen. Ready to leap from bed to interject the rolling log baby in order to seamlessly mend her sleep cycles together with a soft needle pattern of shhhhhing. Doing that 3 times a night has you thinking Ok, maybe just 2 kids total.
You have your I Love Babies good days, and your pulling-out-your-own-hair bad days.
You have your proud mastering mom moments where you’ve got her figured out down to the face that will produce poop 2 seconds later, but then these wonderful things called phases pop into your routine to throw your Lyla Master’s Degree right into the Diaper Genie.
Attention-sucking colds come and go. Followed by signaled health with rolling belly laughs that fill the living room after a couple of bounces on the knee.
This fine art of motherhood is just that – an art. It’s first draft lulls of hard black charcoal depicting labor on the canvas eventually get filled in with 20 shades of warm pink that blend together to form the love in the moment. Erasers made of gummy smiles are there to take away the first pencil sketch of a sleepless night. We must fine tune our days with just the right amount of focus to get us through the exploding diaper hour and onto the next that will capture the perfect photograph of baby’s first day sitting.
It’s an art that’s hard to understand by some. Singing Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer on repeat and spooning in pureed peas into a tiny mouth only to get them spit back at you is not for everyone. It’s a maternal instinct of caring that drives the population into what it is today. Motherly love goes on and on, knowing no limits, blinding the hard times with illusions of an infinite lifetime full of family. And that’s what it’s all about.