Susan's Blog

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Suffering From Dimension

Separation, moving into a new phase, is the hardest thing some of us do. I think it is very hard for me. I don’t feel that I was truly separated, as an individual in my own right, from my parents until I was in my thirties. I had a lot of fear about being an adult; being responsible for myself. It is no coincidence that my separation happened for good in my thirties, when I was a mother in full swing.

I think of my thirties, the early childhood years of Nat and Max and the early adulthood years of Susan, as predominantly sad and uncertain years. I was kind of lost. I was frantic, doing so much but never really getting it. Gerbil in a wheel. I am sorry, Self, for feeling that way. But then again, why? If sad it is, than sad it was. Sad is a part of things. Who says that it should be happy?

I fault communication and inexperience for that one. We seem to be told that having children will be a happy thing, just like we are told that getting married is a happy thing. And they are happy things, but happy does not look the way we thought it would. Or should I say, “I?” I have no idea if that’s how you thought it would be.

We go into things seeing them only in two dimensions: what we’ve seen from the outside, and what we’ve heard/read. Those are the two dimensions. When we enter into the thing, the big thing like marriage or childbirth/adoption, we then experience the addition of the third dimension. We go deeper. We go through some kind of pocket of time and in-the-moment action, and then suddenly we are on the other side.

I actually felt this when I first ran for School Committee. On Election Day, I woke up very early and I thought, “By the end of this day, I will have won this election and it will be over.” This is because campaigning is very hard. 6 weeks into the election I had an uncontested race, yet because I was new to politics, I had to build a base and campaign just as actively as a contested candidate. I had to go to neighborhood associations and speak; I had to attend School Committee meetings; meet with principals; attend any school functions at the 8 K-8 elementaries and the high school. And so on. So on Election Day, I dressed up very crisp and businesslike, held Benji in my arms most of the day, and handed out my brochures. When it was over, it was over, and I was on the Inside.

So when you go through something as intense as childbirth/adoption and suddenly there is a baby where there wasn’t one before, you are just pulled inside out and a whole new consciousness surrounds you.

Then you get used to it. Then you get good at it. Then you enjoy it. And then they are ready to go. And suddenly, there you are, in two dimensions again, looking outward at their leaving you, not knowing how it will feel, only guessing by what others say/do and what you have heard/read.

You go through it. They go. So tonight, the phone rang and I was napping on the couch so Ned answered it. I heard him talking to Nat. The repeated questions. The same questions answered. The addition of new information, like what we will do this weekend. Then, the good-bye. Lying there listening, I thought, “Our son doesn’t live with us. He calls us.” I sighed, but it didn’t hurt. It was just the way things were now.


He isn’t separated from you, he is just beside you now instead of under your wings.Do you remember the years when taking a nap was an impossible dream? Hope you enjoyed it!

— added by Sue on Wednesday, February 11, 2009 at 2:56 am

And then there is acceptance.

Good for you.


— added by Anonymous on Wednesday, February 11, 2009 at 8:34 am

I was so happy to read this post today. I sense something is truly shifting for you. (I’ve read your blog for a long time now but never commented. And you were the first person to ever comment on my own blog 3 years ago.) In Anthropology, my own background, we talk alot about liminality — the act of becoming something else, of moving from one state of being to another. It is a process and while you are in it you are neither the thing you were not what you are to become. I think about that alot in my own motherhood journey and I think that’s what I’ve been seeing from the sidelines with you. Anyway, this is a looong comment but I what I really wanted to say is just that I appreciated reading your thoughts this morning.

— added by Christine on Wednesday, February 11, 2009 at 10:13 am