There is a truth to be said about what women omit from other women. When women become mothers, we often rely on other mothers to provide some sort of guidance to motherhood.
Truth: babies are on their own schedule.
Truth: breastfeeding is really healthy for babies.
Truth: babies give your life meaning as a woman (sort of).
What we omit are those truths that cannot be said for it does not suffice to the experience. Women know that the experience can speak for itself.
Omit: you will never find time for yourself ever again.
Omit: you are now a cow whose udders provide nutrition.
Omit: you must remember that your child is not an extension of yourself.
These are just the fundamentals. They are the basic truths and omissions that are intrinsically known to the sisterhood of the motherhood. What we do not fully testify to most of all (in fear that by testifying to it–subjects mothers to horrible beings) is this: children are assholes.
They go through asshole phases that we will never admit to. We can only turn our heads in denial, and deal with it the best way we know how. Whether it is the threat of a wooden spoon to their ass, or giving looks that can kill—anything to survive through such phase, mothers will do it.
There is the single digit asshole phase. Mothers refer to it as the terrible twos, the tantrum threes, and so on. In this phase, children will find the most ridiculous things to create havoc in a mother’s life. Years ago I was having a philosophical conversation with a colleague of mine (both of us were raising families and working on our undergraduate degree at the same time) at a hockey game. We kept getting interrupted by my 3-year old who kept tugging at my sleeve while whining “Mommy, Mommy.. Look.. Look!” I ignored him and told him to hush as I returned to the conversation. After a few seconds, he yelled at me once more and I looked down to see that he was pointing at his nose. Upon closer examination of his nostril, I noticed a bright orange candy. He had stuck a reeses pieces’ candy up his nose. I asked him why he did such an obnoxious thing and he said he wanted me to pay attention to him. What. The. Hell. Are. You? I asked internally. An asshole, was my answer after I attempted to remove the candy from his nose, which I could not. He was able to remove it himself by inhaling deeply and swallowing the candy. No, there are no words to share this experience with another soon to be mother. This kind of shit has to be experienced in all its glory.
The double digits tween/teen asshole phase is a variety of experiences. They become consumed with their image and selfishness that a mother wishes she can fast forward these years. The selfishness consist of finding the most problematic situation as humorous. One summer, my husband decided to take our boys fishing out at the lake—one was in his late teens, and the other in his tweens (double assholes’ phases). I watched from the deck as they spent their quality time together. Soon enough, I noticed the boys pointing at their father and laughing out loud. As I walked towards them, I immediately noticed that my husband had a bright orange and yellow feather-like ‘thing’ on his ear. It wasn’t until I reached him that I realized that he had accidentally snagged himself with a fishing lure. Instead of helping their father, the boys were laughing so hard that they didn’t bother to think to help him remove the lure. We spent the rest of the afternoon at the emergency room as the doctor attempted to remove the 6-pronged fishing lure off his ear.
I would confidently claim that the phase would eventually find its end. Those mothers who have experienced all the asshole phases eventually begin to talk about how their children will come into their own person.
Truth: they will call from college just to tell you that they’ve missed your cooking.
Truth: they will call you first to tell you that they have called off their engagement to their fiancée.
Truth: they will call you to tell you that they have been nominated for an Emmy in journalism reporting.
Truth: they will tell you that they still need you to comfort them.
Truth: they will text you when they score that first soccer goal.
Truth: they will begin to tell you how much more they appreciate you.
Such profound beauty of truths cannot be challenged nor does it waiver throughout time. They surface every now and then, and a mother will continue to recall such truth each time life decides to be a bitch.
However, there are those times when even words fail to tell the truth.
There is one omitted truth that many mothers omit from one another. It is unspoken at baby showers, at playgrounds, at day cares, and at schools. It is unspoken because the risk is far too great and the potential for bad luck along with the horrible pain that comes with. Its omission is based on its devastation, and yes, only such experience can be its teacher. There is a word for it between lovers, between husbands and wives, between parents, between mothers.
Omission: there is no word for a mother who loses a child.