8/8/09

Conversations With Myself

It was girls night out in my little beach town and I mounted my beach cruiser with a goofy grin on my face as I rolled down my driveway to meet other kid-less mothers.
"So this is what it feels like to be alone."
And then I giggled. The ocean air in my face, a sunset on the horizon and an empty baby seat wiggling away behind me.
"Wow, I can't believe I'm riding away from my house tonight without the kids."
"And I'm all alone!"
And then, after four blocks of this chattering away I suddenly clapped my hand over my mouth, and loudly whispered, "Shit! I've been talking to myself! Out loud! In public!"
It has taken me 32 years to understand my mother, I still don't fully get what makes her tick. But I will say that motherhood has opened a few doors of insight into her soul. And right then, just four blocks from my house, riding along on my beach cruiser, I finally understood why she talks to herself.
As moms, our primary concern is the education of our babies. And so we offer ourselves, our love, our concern, our knowledge, and inevitably, our gift of gab. We talk to the infant in the stroller, we chit chat away about the color of the apples in the produce section, we point out the circles on the fire truck as it rolls by. We talk, incessantly to our kids in hopes of boosting their worldly knowledge, imparting our intellect, sharing the world with them through verbal communication.
My mom raised three children who were all born four years apart. Think about that, she began this habit of diarrhea of the mouth in 1976!!! And then, she just kept up the habit over a period of 26 years until her last child turned 18. She's one of the world's most practiced verbal bulimics! I can recall returning home for a weekend just last month and as I sat coloring with my girls in the playroom, I could hear her yakking away about the roast and the potatoes, the silverware and whatever else crossed her mind and then shot out of her mouth. It was a common occurrence to find my mother alone in a room with one hand on her hip and the other hand on her head like she and herself had been in the middle of an argument. Obviously the left side of her was being stubborn (the hip hand) and the right side was thoroughly annoyed (the head hand), and the silence upon your interrupting her meant that she had just come to a standstill with herself on the topic.
"Mom!" I hollered, "Are you talking to yourself?"
And after just 5 years of parenting, I've finally cracked. I'm following in my mother's crazy habits, talking away to myself while I pedal through my neighborhood. That's me, the schizophrenic mother conversing with herself about the new landscaping in The Butler's yard, and then chastising herself for saying it out loud...out loud.

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