March 3, 2010 3:30 am
I have been reading a lot of the same authors lately and I think I have used that as a way to turn my brain off and just enjoy rather than think and analyze what it is I am seeing. So on our last trip into the library James picked out a few books that he thought just sounded like me. After finishing a rather long book in one of my current series, I decided to take a longer look at some of the books he grabbed before jumping back into my same old readings. All of the books seem to be of the young adult reading level and they also all seem to be the times that press the issues. The kind that ask the questions of life bluntly. So I thought that could be a good break from my latest science fiction addiction. The one I am finishing up is a first novel by Dana Reinhardt, published in 2006, titled a brief chapter in my impossible life. The lead in this story is a 16 yr old high school student who has spent her life knowing and accepting that she is adopted and she is now faced with her birth mother wishing to contact her. That alone has taken up quite a bit of the story but along with that and above and beyond it is the number of questions we all face in life, the biggest of which being “Who am I” and “Where do I fit into all of this”? It is an enjoyable book, one that always seems to head straight into the questions rather than using the dialogue to provide outside insight. I have found much of my reading time spent thinking about the same questions and how my life has been affected in the times that I chose to ask them.
The heroine is 16. Not an advanced age by any means. This is a time when we all seemed to be controlled by our constant states of emotion. Be it in love, stress or exhaustion. Looking back I find my own teen years to be just as frantic and hurried as everyone else’s. I was nothing special, had no major climactic wars of self to handle. When I think back now I feel that I was so busy rushing around worrying about ever small occurrence be it the next test or the next break up, that I didn’t have the time or fortitude to real have any big epiphanies of self. I was too busy worrying about the everyday state of being to stop and think about who I was or would be in the overall sense. Of course I Must have had times when the thought of my place in this world brought me a few moments of wonder but all in all I just didn’t have the time to think about farther than this weekend or next month.
I was not so self indulged that I did not think about the fate of others though and I did understand that many others were making life long decisions all around me. Looking at it now, I cannot imagine being in high school and being faced with decisions that would affect another person’s state of being. My own mother was 15 when she found out she was pregnant. I had a few friends in high school go through with the same thing. Although my mother’s choices were not stellar in the slightest but I can say that many of the friends I had, faced with this decision, now looking at their lives as not only their own, made some of the best choices they could and many are some of the best mothers I have had the chance to see. Would I have handled things as well or would I have continued to think and act like a child and followed in my mother’s footsteps. Well, I guess I will never know. I do know though that no matter what age you are, you can never be prepared for the change in thinking and being that having a child brings you. When your choices no longer are your own and you begin to look at every action as something that may harm your child s well being, you realize that you no longer own your own mind. At least most mothers do this willingly. There are always the cases where mothers choose not to change, like my mother, and continue to think of all choices as only theirs until they are forced to see how those choices, often negatively, affect their child. Sometimes those are the wake up calls a person needs and of course sometimes it just doesn’t matter how bad things get, people will act like they choose no matter what happens.
I was a lucky mother. I got to plan out a time that would be good for me to become a mother. As many of you know, James and I decided to get pregnant earlier than we would have like due to some medical complications and a doctor’s advice which it seems now might have been wrong, but we did consciously make the choice to have a child. Not many people have that luck. There are awful lots of “opps” walking around. Obviously I was one of those. But as I was saying James and I knew from the day I got pregnant on. We planned and read and talked about just about everything to do with Kenneth that we could think of. Despite all that, I still reacted differently, to him being in our life, than I ever would have thought possible. I still don’t feel that I have filled the spot that I always saw myself as being. I am not the mother I would have liked to be. Because of that and a million other things, I am usually the last person to give advice or insight into parenting. But in reading this book I couldn’t help but think about the place mothers, or parents as a whole, are faced with being. When asked to think about “who you are”, most mothers would use that as one of the main descriptions in their state of being. “I am a mother“, or even “I am Kenneth’s mom”. I am guilty of that myself. I have been thinking though that maybe we should be careful of using those things first. Are we not relating our personality and choices toward the stigma of that statement?
Can you be a married, a mother and bisexual? Can you be a Gay father? Of course you can, but by stating the mother or father part first you are setting yourself up with one stigma, when that may be very little of what you are. I am a mother and I would dare to say that I even look like the stereotypical stay at home mom but when you add in my choices and my beliefs you are introducing someone very different from the same little “mommy” you thought you were.
Just my latest 2cents on that.