I was sitting at the table this morning and Eli came over and stood on his tiptoes to pull a notebook off of the table. I handed it down to him, a spiral-bound thing that I got out recently to reuse but that has notes in it from my freshman year of college. He was totally delighted, touching and drooling and talking to himself, opening and closing the cover and experimenting with taking large bites out of the loose leaves inside.
Suddenly I caught a glimpse of my handwriting inside the notebook. I thought about freshman year, about who I was then. That was a precious time of my life, full of priceless memories, and such a part of who I am. And I almost stopped him. I thought, wait! Don't destroy that! Don't take away that part of me!
Which, when I came to myself, was silly, because tearing up an old notebook doesn't take anything away from my life. But I realized that this is what the world teaches about children. That when you have them they take over your life, erase your Self, fill up your whole person with motherhood until there's nothing left that's individual. That you'll never have your body back, your career back, your life back, your SELF back.
It's not true, and I was reminded of that this morning.
New life never destroys, never takes away. Babies can only build. He voluntarily came and gave me a hug a few minutes later. He loves me. All my memories, all my experiences make me who I am, and now I am his mother, and whether he knows it or not, what he loves is the conglomerate. All I have done is add - add a human to the world, add love to my life, add joy and discovery and meaning, add strength and wisdom and talents, and add "mother" to the list of words that describe who I am. And who I am continues.