I love education and never plan to leave the place, but sometimes too many A papers make you think everyone’s looking at you and contemplating how they might initiate a conversation with someone who gets so many A’s on her papers. I thought this mild case of narcissism was fairly unique until I read The Celestine Prophecy. I’ll tell my yoga students that before the Salutations might be a good time a time to set an intention–you know, pet your dog more or be a nicer person, but beyond a few really rockin’ relaxation techniques I picked up from an acupressure book, I’m clumsy with words like “energy” and “control drama.”
The Prophecy says to no one and everyone in particular: “Your way of controlling people and situations, in order to get energy coming your way, is to create this drama in your mind during which you withdraw and look mysterious and secretive. You tell yourself that you’re being cautious but what you’re really doing is hoping someone will be pulled into this drama and will try to figure out what’s going on with you. When someone does, you remain vague, forcing them to struggle and dig and try to discern your true feelings.”
When you have a baby, you learn many things– among them, how to anticipate another’s needs, how to butter a piece of toast one-handed, how to use one’s time for something other than aloofness, and how to sniff out the other mothers who also only vacuum the dog hair once a week. A few months ago, I caught myself talking for almost five minutes about a clogged milk duct. Yesterday, I tried to mail two items at the post office without first addressing them. Two days ago, well, I’m not going to tell you about two days ago. Needless to say, I wasn’t writing an A paper.
I’ve been a bit frustrated with our dogs lately because they’ve confused our bed for the mound of snow they usually pee on. I might have just a little freaked out on Aaron about what felt at the time to be a very huge metaphysical crisis, e.g. I don’t know if I can love Dakota and Delilah the same way now. I think it’s the mountains, but lately Aaron is just plain masterful when it comes to these freak-out sessions (If you’re ever upset, try looking at a mountain and imagine its mountain hand patting you on the back. You’ll probably feel better). I tried to convey my appreciation to Aaron for his steadfastness by equating him to a kiddie pool in which this 2.5 foot, immatured soul of mine could never drown. He said he couldn’t stop thinking of urine.
And so, when I look at one of these early pictures of Clara, I think mothers of babies are the least mysterious, most transparently emotional people I know. I find we’re all desperately confused about what exactly an insignificant detail is anymore. For instance, my life and not the start of an algebraic word problem: “So, if she only ate five pieces of broccoli tonight but usually eats ten, is she sick?”. We may look harried and twitchy, but that’s only the sleep deprivation. When you’re trying to help a miniature human be a good one, there are no more corners. There isn’t any more time for disenchantment and aloofness. Instead, we walk up to each other and say, “You have a child. Here’s my phone number. Call me and we’ll try to eat a real lunch sometime.”
I miss not getting carded when I buy beer, A-Line skirts and heels, and laughing loudly in public on a Friday night, but I don’t miss waiting on the world to happen to me.