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31 Jul

Dared to Eat a Peach

San Jose and BlogHer seem, now, a world away. Well, 24 hours away, anyway, 14 of which were spent in airports, on tarmac and in the air. You heard me. 14 hours of air travel, only 5 of which were actually spent in the air. And the last hour was spent cursing the trio of middle-aged hippies who rushed past me in their Birkenstocks and straw hats at 2 a.m. to steal the last cab in the airport taxi line-up, leaving a pungent trail of patchouli-tofu stink in their wake.

But that wasn’t the best worst part. I cursed American Airlines, and the hippies, and I cursed them long and hard, but they weren’t the worst part of yesterday. The worst part was leaving San Jose.

To be clear, I don’t wish that BlogHer could have gone on forever. I don’t wish that it had gone on for even a few more days. I was anxious to come home. I missed WonderBaby so hard that my bones ached. I needed to get home.

But I left behind something else that I think that I am going to miss almost as hard – the me who was happy and fulfilled in the absence of the loves of my life. The me who could assimilate the quiet ache that is that absence, the pressing ache of those missing limbs, into another kind of energy and move, happily, despite that ache. The me who felt both quieted and stimulated alone (sans child, sans spouse) in the company of other women, other writers, other mothers who, for a moment, put the activity of motherhood or whateverhood aside and said, now, what about me? What about us?

I will miss the me that felt at home among my own kind, among a kin that I can only, for the rest of the year, carry with me virtually. I will miss being me among women who, most of them, are trying to be fearless – or at least, know how to not be cowed by fear, even as they quake with fear – in the most important moments of their lives. Among women who are, like me, trying to use found moments of lived fearlessness to navigate the murky waters, the frightening waters, of new motherhood and new writerhood (here be monsters, here be monsters. We know this. Still we fly our sails). Among women who are willing to say, out loud, that they don’t know how to always be fearless. Among women who walk with fear, but who carry wit and intelligence and charm and strength as rods and staffs for comfort.

Women who walk with babes in arms or babes in tummies or aches for distant babes in hearts (and some, even, without babes, happily without babes), who are fierce and indepedent and determined to carpe the diem despite their fears. Women who work a room like red-hot real estate agents in pink lace pasties. Women who stake their claims. Women who speak their claims. I love these women. I loved being one of these women.

I know, I know. I am, still, one of these women, and all of these women continue to walk with me. This is, first and foremost, a virtual community. A community of words is always virtual. I will write and read and virtually walk among these women daily. But for a few days, I walked among them for real. And I walked among them as a friend and a writer first, a mother second. The face that they saw when I approached was mine, the arms that embraced them held no child. And it felt good, powerfully good, in a funny kind of way that both held the ache of being a mother-missing-child and let that ache go.

Now, I’m curled up at home, writing these words with a WonderBaby rolling about at my feet. Her Bad Mother is most fully Her Bad Mother when she has Her clasped to her side. And I love this. I wouldn’t trade this, not for anything. But I also love that, for a few moments, I was Her Bad Mother, fully Her Bad Mother, on my own, with WonderBaby clasped only in my heart, and I love that I loved that alone, that stolen slice of alone. And that I loved it, that ‘alone,’ without fear. I loved it without fear. For a moment.

I miss that moment already, and the women with whom I shared that moment (you know who you are), and the women with whom I did not get to share that moment. I miss it all.

So all that there is to do, now, is keep it alive, in words. Until next time, and beyond.

Mommy went to BlogHer and all she brought me was this Fussy t-shirt
All you fabulous writers who have been doing the Mupproustian Interview Experiment? I’m reading your interviews, and I’ll be Muppeting you up and spreading the linky love really, really soon. Thanks for keeping the love alive out here in the blogosphere.

And, Toronto Mamas? Getting together soonest is now of paramount importance. Check our space later today.

And, all… please do keep visiting the Basement. Someone’s hanging there right now, and could use the company. Bring cookies, and all of that BlogHer love.