Motherhood Mondays: On being a nostalgic mommy

Maybe it's the anesthesia from the intense dental appointment I had earlier today, maybe it's the fact that my parents are heading back to Florida after a WONDERFULLY long and indulgent visit, maybe it's because overnight (!) my youngest daughter can suddenly string long sentences (that make sense!) together...I dunno. Whatever the reason is, I'm feeling nostalgic. 

Forgive me, I'm really not trying to be corny. Reality is, I'm profoundly grateful for the life I have right now and I am most definitely looking forward to the years to come. So I can't help feeling the twinge of guilt when I catch myself longing for "yesterday".  It makes me laugh, too....I know.  I JUST turned 30. I don't have many "yesterdays" to my credit. But in my defense, I see this in my daughter Elasia too. She's only 4 and she already keeps a "treasure box" where she puts sentimental things that are important to her - so she can look at them whenever she wants and ....remember.

After a quick google or two here's what I found:
This beautiful painting by Mirjana Gotovac and a handy definition.

1. A bittersweet longing for things, persons, or situations of the past.
2. The condition of being homesick; homesickness.

"Bittersweet". Yep. I agree. Bitter = we can't recreate those memories and, besides, they're probably glossed over and exaggerated a bit in our flawed mind's retelling of the story. But that longing, that homesickness is sweet too. Nostalgia almost always brings a smile to my face. And I think it's playing a critical role in my ability to "mother".
Life can seem so overwhelming to me sometimes. Motherhood can tend to require EVERYTHING that I'm not good at - all at the same time. Every. day.  And I don't have the mental fortitude to "leave it all at the job" most days. If I screw up, I'm acutely aware that little lives are affected.
Nostalgia comes to the rescue.  Like a tiny cheerleader (but less annoying) inside my brain I hear, "Remember the sunlight hitting on Elasia's face when they were happily playing in the garden?!"  "Remember that vulnerable little newborn cuddle-bug that you named Zaqarah?!" "Remember how much fun you had as a kid just 'playing' with no developmentally appropriate stimuli forced on you?!"
yes. I remember. And I can do this. 
Whenever I feel nostalgic I like to look through pictures. It's entirely self-indulgent, but why do anything halfway, right? :-)  I'll spare you the family slide shows - but I can't wait to go through quite a few later, after I put these kids to bed. Beside the obvious "remember when my kids did..." memories, random memories help keep my life in perspective. Pictures of my favorite spots in NYC, the bike I learned to ride when I was little, beautiful people I've had the privilege of  knowing....When I'm drowning in the sea of mommyness, these things frame my current story. And they provide a pretty riveting plot that my kids get to be a part of too. (Does that make sense? And I'm getting too artsy-fartsy? Sorry. I blame this whole entire entry on Dr. Masaiah, D.D.S.)
It's good to feel alive and "in the moment" and yet nostalgic. Hm...I think that anesthesia is wearing off. Time to go pop some Advil and lay down.  I'll leave you with few memories that are bringing smiles (crooked, half numb smiles) to my face today.
This is a beautiful, crowded and dusty bookstore in the Upper Westside. Stores like this give me a sense of adventure. (I've always been a bookworm, though). And the anonymous person's rear-end is added comedic relief.

This beautiful lady was once a well-know ballerina here in NYC. She now lives in a nursing home, but is still so gracious in her movements and a great lunch date.

my "regular" subway stop by Rockefeller Center when I used to teach ESL

love these girls...

and I love laughing and living life with this man.
(we were trying to bulge out our biceps to make it look like we were buff.)

I'm grateful for memories. They get me through difficult days and put an extra bounce in my step during the good days.

Happy Monday, fellow Mommies.


Beth said...

Oh Evita, I LOVE this post . . . and plan to return next time I'm feel nostalgic—which is often. : )

So enjoy your posts.

danielle (elleinadspir) said...

Those lovely sleeping sweet. Soo soo sweet.