The Lament of Motherhood
I Know I Lament Motherhood Often…
I know that I lament motherhood quite often. It is just that way in my household. Those boys of mine are maddening. Their struggles encompass me. They become my own by virtue of blame or guilt or just plain ol’ desire to help. When it comes to them, I guess one could say that I tend to be pessimistic, worrying about all that COULD go wrong, and in the last year a lot of that “could” “HAS.” I am not sure if this is a phenomenon every parent experiences or if it is just my neurosis, but I have been a worrier for my entire life and so I guess it isn’t a huge leap that I would approach motherhood in the same way. In a warped sense of logic, worrying about what could possibly happen makes me feel like I would then be prepared if it DID in fact happen—less surprised I guess one could say (You can stop shaking your head. I DO know how absolutely loony toony that sounds..really…I do.).
So when my typically shy-reserved-non-risk-taker son, Aidan, decided to try out for his first choral solo, well…I um…worried. First I worried that he wouldn’t get it. That he’d stick his neck out for the first time (finally) and it’d be chopped off. When he got it, I was ecstatic for him and honored (You see it was my favorite song from my favorite Broadway Musical which is why he decided to try out for it.). But after the initial elation, that familiar worry began to take over.
First I worried, that as a perfectionist, he’d never feel that it was just right. When things like this happen he tends to get surly. Surly brings door slamming and eye rolling and well…no one in the world enjoys that. Then I worried that as a former bullied kid, singing in front of the entire school would open him up to ridicule that, as his mom, I didn’t think he was strong enough to handle. Teen boy musicians tend to take on a certain stigma from the football type bully pulpit. I vividly imagined snickers and epithets even elbows and locker shoves. He’d internalize it and then never sing alone again (even though his voice is truly a gift.)
He spent many days after school with his angel of a chorale teacher practicing and practicing and perfecting. He walked around the house humming or working out a particular line. I sometimes even heard his full voice rise up from the teen palace in the basement. To me, the sound was breathtaking, but the anticipation of the performance itself seemed to be equally as breathtaking.
On the night of the concert, I stood in the back with my toddler daughter. It was easier than to try and get her to sit still in an auditorium seat, but in reality it also allowed me to pace and pace and pace and pace. The butterflies I was sure were so plentiful that they’d rise from my stomach and fly right out of my mouth even though my lips were pursed so tightly with nerves that they had turned white from lack of blood.
All at once it was time, and he stepped down from the risers with his duet partner. The piano washed over me the familiar and moving music and Aidan opened his mouth to sing.
The low tone was like a gulp of hot buttered rum and sent waves of warmth and goose bumps cascading down my limbs. His confidence rose with each line and I stood rooted to my spot knowing that I was witnessing a life changing moment in my son’s life. As he continued to sing the beauty of it mixed with the melancholy of the realization that despite the bullying, despite his worried mother, despite his absent father, despite all that had plagued him over the 17 years of his life, he knew that he had something to contribute to the world. He knew he counted. Tears cascaded down my cheeks and ran over my chin and neck forming a puddle in my clavicle. The beauty of the moment, a moment when you are absolutely sure that your child is going to be just fine in a world that can sometimes be scary and worrisome is a rare one indeed, and I drank in each note of the song cherishing it for the gift that it was.
When he was finished the audience went wild. They stood and cheered and clapped, hooting and hollering for my son–MY son and his incredible voice. My legs were weak with spilling pride and the energy that I had expelled doing the ugly cry some moms get when overwhelmed with pride for their children.
As the music ended and the clapping died down, it was time for Aidan to make his way back onto the risers and once again become one member of a very large chorus. But just before he turned he did something that I will never forget. He pursed his lips and nodded in an “I knew I could do it” way, and he was right…he did it. He did it BIG!
Please enjoy this video of Aidan singing. He is in the red shirt. The song he sings is called “Lily’s Eyes” from the Broadway musical “The Secret Garden.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Logan has lived in Glens Falls, NY all her life. By day, she is an educator with 20 years experience, a mom to Aidan and Gannan, her two teenage boys, a new mommy to a beautiful daughter, Ila, and wife to the love of her life, Jeffrey. By night, weekends and any spare time she can find, Logan writes. She loves memoir and also adores writing essays about the challenges of parenthood. This year she started a parenting blog called A Muddled Mother, an honest place where mothers aren’t afraid to speak of the complications and difficulties that we all inevitably experience. Logan has been published in various children’s and parenting magazines including Today’s Motherhood, Eye on Education, Faces, and Appleseed.