The End of the Zen Attitude.


THIS is the day I’m very, VERY upset at having lost three years’ worth of videos and photos. The kids and I cleaned out some toyboxes, and I packed up some baby toys. These are not the ones for the giveaway bin; these are the ones for the ‘keeping forever’ bin.


I’m really not good at this.

So then I was looking through bins down in the basement to see if we had a spare one for the keeping forever baby toys, and I found the bin of keeping forever baby clothes. That still smell like my babies. Who are no longer babies.

It’s happening too fast. Too damned fast.

Look, I was built for the first part; pregnancy, labour, wee little sprogs. Nursing and swaddling and diapering and carrying-in-a-sling. I’m good with toddling and holding hands and singing songs and kisses and cuddles. I’m *very* good with kisses and cuddles, in fact. I’m good with staring into wide eyes, watching for smiles, listening for little coos and whimpers and watching for sign language. I’m built for protecting these little critters, and holding them.

Not so good with putting away the little clothes and little toys and memories. Really, really not so good with that.

I know what you’re going to say. You’re going to say – learn to love watching them grow. Learn to love helping them become the people they will become. There are joys at every age. Think of how proud you’re going to be when…



I mean, sure I’m going to be proud. Of *course* I love watching how they change and grow. But this really, really hurts. I really don’t like it. For all that I natter on about embracing change and marvelling at the newness of the world every day, I HATE this change. They’re changing too fast, and I am changing not at all. Their worlds are exploding outward, rushing forward, while mine is growing smaller, spiralling ever quicker into its own centre. I can’t hold them forever.

And these times, times like this, it is just me, however narcissitic that sounds. But that’s how it is – it’s just me, because I can’t explain…not at all well…how terrified I am that I will never learn to just look forward with joy. How it feels like a million endings, each just as painful as the last. I have lost count of the nights I’ve passed without sleeping, just sitting with an empty book on my lap, trying to figure out how to write about them, about how I feel about them, about how they have and will continue to change the world. But there are no words for them, because those are their stories, not mine to write.

So I watch them. And I hold them, and cuddle them, and wonder and marvel at their growing independence. But I mourn also; at once knowing there is no greater joy than holding for the first time a new person…knowing I have been blessed twice…and fearing that the mathematical/graphical representation of everything after that point is a descending line. Each new joy is just a little less joyful than the one before it, from the moment you first meet that new person. It’s by no means a steep line, but by God, how do you top that?

You don’t, and that’s the blessing and the curse of being a mum, I think.

To be honest, I’m a little surprised I don’t burst into tears every time I look at them. Stupid mixed-up tears of happy and sad.






4 responses to “The End of the Zen Attitude.”

  1. cenobyte Avatar

    Thanks, Jim.

  2. Jim Avatar

    My heart just broke a tad, Cenobyte. Thank-you.

    Watching you with your children is so warming and inspiring. I don’t know how to respond to your words, here, but I have read them.

  3. Anonymous Avatar

    I miss ‘new baby smell’. But, every day, she get a little less reliant on me. and part of me is quite happy about that.

    But part of me still wants to carry her and cuddle with her and always be ‘dada’.

  4. Der Kaptin Avatar
    Der Kaptin

    Wonderfully articulated, Cenobyte. Touching. You know, you will always be their mother, and they will always be your babies. They will Love You Forever, (but in a less sappy way than that book.)

    But it’s a good thing they are self-propelled, to get themselves out into the world. And I think you know what should happen next — you try for a girl! No, no, I mean you take all you’ve learned, about them, about the geography of your own heart through being with them, and you mature from procreation to creation as your form of self-expression. I mean, kick-ass blogs still aren’t quite getting the job done, are they? It’s time to get on with the big adventure that has been sitting there, the ghostly elephant in the room. It’s just about time to give yourself to your self and put it on the line with a (gasp) manuscript.

i make squee noises when you tell me stuff.

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