Did you notice? Or is it so subtle that you just think my hair looks particularly great?
When I started this blog, I was in a haze of anticipatory grief. My Oldest had applied to college and would soon be flying the coop. Middle was already in high school, for God’s sake. Youngest was rapidly approaching the uber-milestone of his thirteen birthday. There was no way around it. My gig as a full-time, non-working-for-pay, consumed-with-the-minutia-like-Emily-Dickinson-minus-the-agoraphobia mother was coming to an end. Fast.
That’s why I named my blog, The End of Motherhood.
I figured I would use the blog to track my experiences in the waning days of motherhood. I wanted to meditate on what the loss felt like, on what happened when the singular focus I brought to the task was no longer needed and on how my self-definition would change now that mother wasn’t necessarily in first position anymore. It would also give me the opportunity to look back over the past eighteen years, to give form to the vagaries of memory, to clarify my ideas about mothering and to pass on a little of what I feel I have learned.
All that seems to be working.
But the more I write, the clearer it becomes that one thing is not working.
The title. The title is not working.
Much to my chagrin, I know now that the title is not true.
There is no end of motherhood. Motherhood is not going to end for me until I end.
What was I thinking?
Well, have you ever been in a relationship that you knew was going south and so you dumped the person before they could dump you?
That’s what I was doing with the title.
When I look back, I think I was so worried about the loss of my role as a mother, so fearful of what the future would be like without this all-consuming, life-affirming, meaning-making task, that I just couldn’t bear it. I decided to call out “Game Over” rather than endure the loss, the uncertainty and the wondering “what now?”
But in talking this over with a really great group of women I know, I realized that I don’t need to toss the title completely. I am going to keep it in honor of the piece of motherhood that is ending.
And, to honor the part that is next, the Everest of not-knowing that looms ahead, I am going to add a question mark.