By Tracee Sioux
As I pull crayoned notes out of your Kindergarten backpack and read, Ainsley loves Brayden, my heart longs to make you understand that it’s just not about them.
At the dawn of my 34th year, having given birth to my second and last child and knowing my childbearing years were over, I felt a wave of liberation wash over me sitting in yoga class.
It was, I think, the decision to have no more children that set me free. Or perhaps it was the vasectomy, which finally liberated me from the love chase I’ve been on my whole life.
This liberation feels like finally taking possession of my own brain. I look back at my own history and think of all the disrespectful positions with men that I’ve been in and wonder how I ever let myself be so compromised. I look back and wonder what on earth could have been wrong with me to have chased those particular men. Why would I put up with abusive, disrespectful or negative behavior? What the hell was I thinking?
It’s all so droll and disgusting. I can gloss it over and make it feel more respectable than it was, but it feels like my entire existence was controlled by my biological clock and my need to create these two perfect and wonderful children for 33 years.
Now that I have, now that I’ve accomplished my mission, I feel a sense of liberation that will allow me to demand more respect for myself than I ever felt worthy of before.
It feels like coming into my self.
Like a birthing of me.
My children are like the culmination of a struggle that I am allowed to leave behind now.
I am mother. Already. Done. Finished. Mission Accomplished.
It’s like I’m giving myself permission to move on. And in the moving on I notice that how I think and feel about my self in relation to men is vastly different.
My biological clock is off and now my real life can begin. My life, my existence, my soul, my wellbeing, my identity, my womanhood, my femininity isn’t about men. I no longer feel relational to them, not even your father. I don’t feel my life is about what I can offer them, give them or get from them.
Romantic love and sex no longer hold the same attraction or urgency for me anymore. It’s hard for me to even fathom why it was ever so important to me. It’s not my main purpose as it was for all those dating years that I look back on my wanting with a sense of regret.
What if I could have avoided all that desperation, longing and wanting? Maybe that wasn’t necessary to create these wonderful children. What if that was just a complete waste of my emotional energy?
What if I inherited my desperation from my mother and she from hers? What if that longing, that allowing men to define my worth by whether they wanted me, desired me, loved me or claimed me was passed from one generation to the next.
"Why does Brayden like Cat instead of me?"
"Brayden said I was cute today."
As I listen to these precocious words fall from your six-year-old mouth I wonder, have I done this to you? Have I passed on my desperation and longing?
How I wish I would have learned that it’s just not about them before I brought you into this world.
As I imagine your future of crushes, dating and heart breaks I want to pass my post-mother, post-birth, mid-life, newly discovered knowledge on to you in an effort to save you some drama and pain:
The process of being You, Ainsley, is just not about them.