Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Changing Perspective

Back in 2001 when the first season of Six Feet Under was on HBO, I was 23 and living temporarily with my father and step-mother in Montana. We never missed an episode and it was often one of the only times during the week that we all just hung-out together as a family. We loved that show.

So when we were recently gifted the second season of Six Feet Under and my husband revealed that he had never seen any of them, we finally found a way to fill the hole that the Soprano's left in our tv watching life. I rented the first season via Netflix and we're currently plowing through them. Even though I've seen them before it's as if I've never seen them at all. Sure I remembered the details of the episodes, but my perspective is totally different.

What's changed? I'm a mom now. Becoming a mother has changed my perspective of everything around me.

The other night we watched an episode where the mother, Ruth, played by Frances Conroy, and Claire, played by Lauren Ambrose, are wading through some mother/daughter issues. Back in 2001, I think I saw the scenes mostly through the eyes of Claire. A 17 year old trying to figure out who she is and what life is all about. This time around, I found myself bawling my eyes out getting emotional as I completely related to her mother, Ruth, and it got me thinking about all the different things that have changed for me since becoming a mom.

Quite a few of the bloggers I follow have either recently had a baby or are expecting (and her, and her, and her, and her, and her, and they are adopting soon!). I wonder how their perspective is changing and what things will stand out most to them as their life inevitably changes.

My very first example of perspective change was realizing how much my mother loved me. I couldn't talk to her for the first month of Abby's life without crying. It was actually fairly annoying. I call to ask for my Grandma's chicken and rice recipe and next thing I know I'm bawling my eyes out, because I just imagined my grandmother as a new mother holding her children for the first time. I'm sure it was probably 75% hormones, but the other part was sheer realization of how connected by love we truly were. It was a beautiful time in my life.

When Abby was first born, I was home alone with her a lot. My husband was running a new restaurant and working 10-16 hours per day. She didn't do much in those first days, but eat (barely), sleep, poop, and scream (this became a theme for the following years). So I decided to re-read my favorite book, The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver considering I spent much of my time glued to a couch.

I couldn't do it.

Because passages like this, made me cry so hard when reading through my New-Mother-Eyes, that I just couldn't read on.

"... How we wives and mothers do perish at the hands of our own righteousness. I was just one more of those women who clamp their mouths shut and wave the flag as their nation rolls off to conquer another in war. Guilty or innocent, they have everything to lose. They are what there is to lose. A wife is the earth itself, changing hands, bearing scars... Sometimes I pray to remember, other times I pray to forget. It makes no difference."

I tried to keep reading and I just kept weeping. There were so many more passages that broke me when viewed through my Mom-Eyes. I still haven't re-read it. Though maybe it's time.

I've always been a person who embraces change. I crave it actually. I usually satiate my desire for change with a new haircut or hair color. I think this is part of what makes life interesting. I'm still the same little girl who pretended she was walking the Red Carpet in her plastic dress-up heels while watching the Oscars on tv, and the teenager who listened to Rage Against the Machine at top volume in her car, smoking a cigarette before cheerleading practice, and the young adult with a penchant for dark bars and dirty martinis. But now I've quit smoking and only drink martinis on special occasions and view the world through Mom-Eyes and it's fascinating.

My heart has grown three sizes (like the Grinch?).
I feel more passionately and the world looks different.
It's exciting and a little bit scary.


familymann said...

Vanessa is currently rebuilding...remolding my (and is still "upgrading":) mind. Making me stronger, wiser, more loving, patient person...all the while challenging me to better myself. Adding NEW ideas and components everyday--keeping some of the old(I love your examples Erin...right there with ya;)
She has broken me and repaired me all at the same time. I now SEE the world...I see everything, like I have never seen it before.
As she grows...I grow, too.

I can also hear "bad words" better....That's kinda like a super power, right?

Dani G said...

i LOVE this post! and I REALLY love these pics!!
Every experience changes us, makes us the women/moms we are today.

My name is Erin. said...

Jen- Yes, yes, and YES! I grow a little bit more each day, grow a little more confident each day... well not every day. : )

Dani- Thank you!

Penny said...

I so identify with your thoughts in this post -- I'm able to see how my children may be perceiving a book or TV show (as I would have before children), and realize how I identify now with the MOTHER instead of the child. And sometimes, I can't fight the tears, either.

My name is Erin. said...

It is interesting, isn't it? Because some days I still really feel like a rebellious teenager and then I think... I'm closer to having my own rebellious teenager. Where did the time go?