One of my favorite poets has always been Maya Angelou. Several years ago I had the opportunity to hear her speak and her topic was on being rainbows in each others clouds. Maya once said when speaking of her own mother in her 2013 work Mom and Me and Mom, “My mother’s gifts of courage to me were both large and small. The later are wove in so subtly into the fabric of my psyche that I can hardly distinguish where she stops and I begin. The large lessons are highlighted in my memory like technicolor stars in a midnight sky.” A mothers mark making a technicolor impression. I loved the idea. I loved the imagery.
After years of saying one of my bucket list items was to write a book I’ve decided to channel my flair as a wordsmith and my role as a mother into a singular creative outlet. It’s easy to tell friends at a dinner party you want to write a book but the harsh truth is if you aren’t writing you aren’t a writer.
This year has been very challenging learning to mother four very small children and I needed to do something for myself. I needed to make the time in my life for outlets that allowed me to reignite my creative spirit and so I started this blog. In part as a way for family and friends to share in the lives of my children but also to allow their stories to encourage other parents.
There is a strange catharsis to me in writing out the happenings that one navigates in the season of life we call motherhood. Finding humor in the mundane very possibly might be one of my super powers and as with all super powers we must use them for good and not for evil.
Some women enter motherhood with a sort of rose colored glasses affect. Idealizing their babysitting years. I possessed no such allusion. While none of us truly know what kind of mother we will be until we are in the trenches, I certainly was never that person with a romanticized notion of the journey. When friends would show me their newborns, I would politely smile and say “cute baby.” This is the appropriate thing to do after all but I would never offer to hold your baby… cute as they may or may not be in reality, because I was not a baby person.
In a twist of irony I ended up being the mother to four children ages 7 and under (hereafter referred to as the boy, blonde, brunette, and baby). Ten years ago if you had asked me if I would be the mother of a pack of children, I would have laughed an inappropriately hard laugh. Even stranger to me sometimes is that fact that I am now the women friends and neighbors call for referrals, medical opinions, advice on sleep, tips on nursing, engineering guidance on the wearing of baby carriers, wisdom on behavioral conditioning and all in all have earned a slightly unexpected label as a baby whisperer.
I have been told by many women to cherish this time because though the days feel long; the years pass quickly. At this point I’m not entirely sure I believe the women in the grocery store line giving me this sage fortune cookie cutter wisdom but in case they are right I figure the best way to survive the years ahead might be found in observing the wonder and at times absurdity that is my life, putting these insights in story form and then true to today’s extremely transparent era …..sharing my pearls of wisdom with people over social media.
Please keep your hands and arms inside the vehicle at all times. This ride can get a little bumpy. For better or worse…this is motherhood….raw….unplugged….and above all else in glorious technicolor.
Summer Smith, a native of Central Washington, now lives with her family in Northern Virginia. These are the chronicles of the boy, the blonde, the brunette, the baby, their beloved father, and their brave mother.