“It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasures of life. Where you stumble, there lies your treasure. We must be willing to get rid of the life we planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”
~Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth
Very shortly here, Abby will be five. On one hand, that’s hard for me to process- five years in the blink of an eye. But on another, who knew what twists and turns life had in store for me and when I turn back and glance over my sometimes-weary shoulders, I am struck breathless at the road behind me. There are pieces of sparkling magnificence strewn among catastrophic wreckage- and I find myself surprised and awed that the wreckage is quiet now– no longer burning white-hot and spewing black acrid smoke. Instead of being a smoking furnace consuming me, it’s a quiet, still, sentient and dark monument to the dead. It’s an odd peace to find in an unexpected place. I can look on it with quiet sadness now, but am grateful the sucking, cavernous hole that ripped me in two has gradually knit itself back into something whole and new, while still holding tender allusions to what came before. I am changed, I am refined. I am a new me. I am still me.
As I turn the corner, it occurs to me I am leaving more behind me than just charred dreams and monuments to a fallen life. I am moving into new phases of my life. The days of all-consuming child-care and the trials of toddlerhood are, for the most part, behind me as well. When in the thick of it, I thought it would never end- and wanted to kick the mamas who told me to enjoy it. I’m quite frank about not being a super-natural mother- having three little people was really hard for me. Am I selfish? Probably a little bit. I devoted myself to my children during their infancy, and I will continue to do so as they grow- I just think I will enjoy it a lot more now, where we can talk, joke and appreciate each other’s individuality.
And I intend for my children to know me as someone besides Mama. Moving forward means acknowledging my desires outside of providing for my children- a new balancing act. It’s disconcerting to look at myself and question what I want now. After I finish school, what do I want? Where do I want to live? Where do I want to take my children? What kind of life do I want to provide? What experiences? What do I want for me? These are exciting questions that I find myself grateful I get to ask.
It makes me appreciate what I found in the abyss, as devastating as it was, and makes me thrilled for the life to come and oh-so-eager to jump…