The older I get, the more I surprise myself.
I would consider myself a spiritual person, a conscious person, a reasonable problem-solving person. But lately, like in the last 10 years, I have become more and more unrecognizable to myself. This is neither good nor bad as I truly do not attach judgment to it either way. But it is curious, and on occasion, humbling
Example- I had a meeting at my daughter’s school yesterday with her religion teacher and the school principal. I requested the meeting in a rather heated email when my daughter came home to report that the religion teacher “snatched” her notebook in class and tore a page out of it in a disturbingly violent and shaming manner. It seems that instead of paying attention to the video being shown featuring the lives of Catholic saints, my not so saintly daughter was instead doodling flowers in the dark. While said floral doodling could warrant a gentle reprimand, snatching her book and ripping out the offending page seemed excessive and inappropriate given the offense.
Now that’s my reasonable, logical voice which would under normal circumstances, calmly request a meeting with the teacher, to voice said opinion in an equally calm and reasonable manner. The problem is I also have another voice living right under the surface when it comes to my child.
That voice sounds like, “BITCH! ARE YOU FUCKING CRAZY? YOU DID WHAT??! HEFFA HAVE YOU LOST YOUR FUCKING MIND?!!! DID YOU JUST TOUCH MY CHILD?!!! OH, HELL NO! OH…SO YOU WANNA SNATCH SOMETHING???!!!! SNATCH THIS!!! You done picked on the wrong child. Fuck no… we need a MEETIN’….. We need a meeting NOW! Cause THIS bitch is Crazy!!!!”
Yah. That was my inside-and-not-so-inside voice. This event happened on Friday OK, and I am telling you it took ALL weekend for me to calm the cuss down. Every mother I ran into, I recounted the story with ever increasing agitation, and mounting indignation. I was on a rant both internally and externally. (…so not proud of this)!
Now, the reasonable part of me is saying, “Lorraine. You need to calm the fuck down. You’re a lady God damn it!. You are a lady! Your mother, the truly lovely and gracious Ms Beane, raised a lady. Ladies do not call out the Religion Teacher in the Catholic school parking lot for the purpose of a cuss down. Please, please think of your saintist middle class mother resting peacefully in her grave. This will unearth the poor woman. You need to pray Lorraine. You need Jesus! Lord, Jesus! Jesus, please help me! Help me Lord! Help me.” And so it went all weekend, back and forth between reasonable, spiritual, bougie Lorraine and Vaseline greasing, foul mouthed, ghetto Lorraine. Oh my God! It was both fascinating and horrifying at the same time.
What is it in the maternal makeup, the bred-in-the-bone protective instinct that turns mother into raving maniacs when it comes to our children? My mother would tell me stories of women who lifted cars off their children, or in her own case, she literally threw her body in front of my runaway bike to stop its downhill trajectory into oncoming traffic. There is so much about motherhood that is so cray-cray, so beyond reason it is shocking to me. I mean I wanted to go off on that teacher! I barely know this person that I have become. I was never like this before my child was born.
One of the reasons I wanted to become a mother was I wanted to know love beyond reason. To know a love that never rose above my shoulders. A love that was lodged in my blood and bones and marrow. Something in me knew that only the love of my child could take me there. I was right. I love no one the way I love her. What I did not count on was the other side of that love. A driving mindless instinct to protect her from any and all danger, imagined or real. This instinct too, does not rise above the shoulder to fully engage my brain. It sometimes shoots up my spine explodes out my ears and rockets out the top of my head. Taming this Mama Bear instinct sometimes takes all the spiritual discipline, logic, compassion, patience, and humility I have built up in my life’s reserves. In those times, I cannot help but wonder…who the heck is this woman that used to be me???
Well, I had the meeting yesterday, and I am proud to report that I was indeed lady-like and reasonable. I was clear and concise and able to actually listen to the poor woman. In all fairness, the religion teacher apologized to me for her behavior, and subsequently apologized to my daughter, which was a lot. I also didn’t use a single cuss word. Thank you, Mom. I did however allow myself one parting and pointed whisper which I believed communicated my inner-menopausal-cray cray-mommy voice.
“You may not ever snatch my child again. Ever. I believe we understand each other. Thank you so much for your time.”
I was lovely! I think?????