Today the girls and I started practicing our Italian. I woke up and declared today the day to begin, or rather start again. Fifteen years later I am still weak at the knees, yet unimaginably sturdy in my bones when I hear, think or speak Italian. It gives me the most exotic and euphoric feeling of both adventure and home. It always felt just like that...on an adventure and yet home amongst my people, a culture of feelers, submerged in a beauty that needs no explaining. I promised myself I would teach my children Italian, even before I ever thought I would have children. I promised myself that I would joyfully subject them to this beauty for no other reason than beauty alone. I would imagine them asking why I had chosen to teach them Italian instead of a language that might be more useful in today's modern, money making world. But then I quickly realized how silly that would be, because my children would never ask such a question, I would have taught them better. They would know why I taught them, because they would be swept up in the magic too. I always wanted the homecoming of my heart to somehow be apart of their story. I wanted my cousin Jane, the woman who was the reason for me experiencing Italy how and when I did, to always be apart of their story too. I wanted to give them the gift that few American children get at a young age, and that is, that there is so much more outside of themselves, and there are a million and one ways to live, feel, think, say and do.
Well, flash forward a few years and real life happened here. Right here in the middle of this sentence that is too drowsy to revisit since leaving the fog.
A few years later, I begin again.
Today we began again. And I learned something beautiful, something that would have been wise to have accepted the first thirty years of my life. And that is, there is a season for everything, and those bits and pieces of you that are truly you, will rise to the surface in their own time, in their own way, with or without your doing, because they are so deeply and profoundly you. When I first became a mother I was so hard on myself, almost distraught that I was not able to fearlessly swan dive into life like I had all those years before. I took seldom people's advice, the counter cultural fringe dwellers that told me nothing had to change when I became a mother, and that it was most important and up to me to maintain a strong sense of self. What they didn't say, or maybe I didn't understand is that even if you keep doing and being the same things on the outside, the inside might still feel radically different.
I unfairly assumed I would remain the exact same woman, only with a baby sleeping sweetly in my arms. But my daughter hardly slept, my arms rocked themselves numb, and my mind was too tired to know the first or last thing about myself. I see now that maybe this is how it is supposed to be, perfectly designed and woven into the experience of motherhood. I think it consumes you, because it is supposed to. Surely, and hopefully not forever, but that first year, maybe two, absolutely. How else is it possible to learn something unless you are all in, submerged in the deep end. And isn't this what I've allowed myself to do in almost every other area of my life? Why I was so afraid to apply this to motherhood, I am not quite sure. It's not so scary now, I like what I've become. And I've recently realized that after the rupture and rebirth, I am almost the same person. It was really just a season, it was not forever, despite how it felt. Maybe if I would have known I would be here almost five years later, re learning Italian, cooking, dancing, writing, pursuing more creative endeavors than I can keep tabs on, while getting the privilege of spending the majority of my days with my favorite humans on this planet, well, I probably would have been a lot more gentle with myself. That old quote could use a little revamp. Maybe you can have your cake and eat it too, just once it has cooled, and certainly not all at once.