Tuesday, September 23, 2008

"Who is this woman?"

Sometimes, simply because I am a parent, I find myself doing things that I never imagined I would.

I had this thought last night as I was working to change the chinrest on a violin.

My life A.D. (After Daughter, as opposed to life B.C. or Before Children) has including a string of out-of-body moments where I look down on myself happily doing something completely out of character.

It started in the very beginning when I changed my daughter's first diaper. I had never handled another human being's poop before. I couldn't even imagine myself doing it until I did.

This blog is full of out-of-body examples. I had profound moments of mom-type realizations while crafting tiny little frames and running a Teddy Bear relay race for three-year-olds.

Now that my children are older I find myself doing even more out-of-character things. Designing costumes, tuning violins, organizing fundraisers, substitute teaching and interacting with other people's children. These may seem like such ordinary things to every one else but when I catch myself doing them, sometimes I step back and say, "Who is this woman? I don't know her at all!"

I think the rate of change is all out of whack. One day you're suddenly a parent and your world is completely different. But over the next few years, you so gradually change from the parent of a baby, to the parent of a toddler, to the parent of a kid, to the parent of a preteen...

It happens so slowly on a daily basis but sometimes you stop and look back, shocked to find that your offspring aren't still in diapers.

What's most amazing to me is that, generally speaking, I am so happy with who I've become. I could never have imagined back in college when I was so into the women's liberation movement that I would one day be this person.

Last week I was seeking some advice from the people who know me best. And without fail, every one of them said the same thing to me, in almost the exact same words.

"You've been doing for others for so long. Isn't it time you did something for yourself?"

I thought and thought about it and I finally came to realize something. It has all been for me. This...thing...this motherhood thing is what makes me the happiest. I've been "doing for myself" all along.

And doesn't that just make me one freaking lucky S.O.B?

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