thinking the unthought

So my pal Oh, The Joys left a comment for me the other day on a post that was the cyber-equivalent of a laughing fit at the very idea being nominated for the title of Hottest Mommy Blogger. 

Oh, The Joys has a calling card I admire – she is exceedingly succinct.  I have never seen her comments ramble or wallow around in multiple subordinate clauses.  True to form, this is what she wrote the other day:

Could it not mean, smokin’ hot writer?

Never occurred to me.  Never. Crossed. My. Mind.

Of course it is a possibility.  I see that now. And a lovely one at that. It is just that my imagination was closed to it until she conjured it up for me with her trademark brevity. 

This is what mothers do.  We spend hours, days and years thinking the unthought on our children’s behalf.  When they can’t hold their heads up, we imagine them crawling.  When they nurse, we imagine the precise delicacy with which they will pick up a Cheerio.  When they are without speech, we narrate life for them.  When they cannot yet think, we hold in the cradle of our minds all their possibilities. 

As an adult, it seems clear to me that a self is a mutually constructed affair but as a child, it didn’t feel that way.  I busily created my self as if it were a place to live in, to keep the rain out.   I didn’t feel lonely at the time, didn’t long to be imagined by someone.  I just thought, "I am never going to make it out of this if I don’t change."  And I set out to build myself a different self.  I did not think I was lonely, but I was.  I didn’t think it because I didn’t know how.  No one had thought the context first for me.  I had no way to think, "I am lonely."

There are many thing – maybe most things – we can do nothing about.  We all intersect with fate.  Rocks will tumble off of mountains.  When that happens, all we can hope is that no one we love is in the way.

But when when we are not hanging around on mountain passes, we can do something miraculous. We can think our children, and each other, into new existence.

3 thoughts on “thinking the unthought

  1. I was so busy being a mother, that I never gave “being” anyone else a thought. Then, someone had the audacity to pull the rug out from under me!
    Creating that new existence is both a blessing and a curse.

  2. “No one had thought the context first for me.”
    I’m so intrigued by this that I am going to have to go away and think about it for a while.
    Is that what we do when we parent? Provide context?
    Perhaps. I’d be more inclined to suggest that we give our kids tools to allow them to provide their own contexts when they’re ready.

  3. MizMell, you are absolutely right about the cursed aspect of this – it can be so for both mother and child. More on that in the next post!
    slouching mom, the way I see it, we begin by creating and holding the context for them, then as they grow, they gradually assume more and more responsibility for it. That said, what was brought home to me by OTJs comment is that it remains a mutual process. This is akin to the Buddhist notion that the idea of the solitary and separate self is an illusion.
    Glad to have both your minds as part of the context of this blog!
    Also, to show demonstrate the mutuality of the process, I was going to sleep last night and suddenly thought of how mother-centric the post was and worried briefly that (un)relaxed dad would feel unseen. So, apologies to you, UD, and all the other fathers out their thinking up their children on a daily basis.

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