The factory is silent. Its assembly line stands motionless. Somewhere off in the darkness, a buzzer sounds. One by one, lights begin to flicker and illuminate on long-unmanned diagnostic panels, giving a sense of enormity and complexity and scale to the machinery. The low hum of power supplies warming up comes next, followed by the higher and louder whine of turbines and electric motors. A whistle sounds, and one by one, employees begin to file in and take their places at the controls. Purposed for a single task, whose time has now come, the factory slowly comes to life...

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

NOW I get it... (sort of)

Back in the days before I had a kid, I used to marvel at some of the things I saw mothers do and say. My mother would give me the shirt off her own back (and has!) She has always said things to me like, "You'll always be my baby" and that no matter how I felt about her she would always love me. She also said that one day I would understand. It's starting to make sense now.

Now when I see other mothers, and other people's children, I'm much more sympathetic. Don't get me wrong: I still roll my eyes at uncontrolled brats and people who ignore their childrens' pleas for attention in favor of their iPhone. But now I feel much more understanding of why mothers act the way they do about their kids. I think, in an odd way, I even feel a little protective of other people's children now.

And the strangest things have happened to my everyday experiences. Now when I see someone on tv who is a victim of a violent crime, all I can think of is that person was once someone's baby. They raised that baby to a child, to a young adult, they went to school, had friends, and birthdays and went to the store and did all the things everyone does every end up at this spot, murdered, at the end. This was the sum of all their days. Or the murderer -- they were once someone's baby, and maybe they didn't get enough love, or had a fractured childhood, and now this is where they have ended up. I find myself trying to picture everyone, from celebrities to the kid who bags my groceries, as a baby. We all started out exactly the same. How did we all grow up unique?

On the other side, there are the things I definitely still don't understand. As most of you know, I frequent quite a few internet message boards, including a couple for "moms" now. The people I don't get are the ones who use screen names like "so-and-so's mommy." It's the same way that before I didn't get the women who used screen names like, "so-and-so's wife". Is that now the whole of your identity? Who were you before you were a mommy? Did you always know you wanted to be a mom, and that's the moment you've been living up to?

Maybe it's because I didn't get married until I was 34, and I didn't have my first kid until I was 37 that I grew a whole identity around myself first. All the other things came along way after it was established. It was really hard for me to change my name when I got married because personally and professionally I had become who I am with this one name. And now that I have a baby, it is definitely a struggle many days to "find myself" in here, but I refuse to only think of myself as "Claire's mommy."

I'm not necessarily knocking those people for being who they are with that as their identifier, but I am still having a hard time "getting it."

ps... Bill and Claudia -- Did you have that baby yet?! :D