Our forrays into farm life have afforded me a new dimension of understanding, it seems. For example, I might never have made much sense of this excellent metaphor had I not seen our babies in the fields, hour after hour, day after day, bunting their mommas like in this video above.
Check out this excellent excerpt from the great Barbara Kingsolver in her latest Flight Behavior:
". . . Being a stay-at-home mom was the loneliest kind of lonely, in which she was always and never by herself. Days and days, hours and hours within them, and days within weeks, at the end of which she might not ever have gotten completely dressed or read any word longer than Chex, and word not ending in -os, or formed a sentence or brushed her teeth or left a single footprint outside the house. Just motherhood, with its routine costs of providing a largesse that outstripped her physical dimensions. She'd seen ewes in the pasture whose sixty-pound twins would run underneath together and bunt the udders to release the milk with sharp upward thrusts, jolting the mother's hindquarters off the ground. That was the picture, overdrawn. A gut-twisting life of love, consecrated by the roof and walls that contained her and the air she was given to breathe."
In case you're wondering: no, I do not share in this character's feeling of imprisonment. Not at all. I do, however, love the description and the way what I see everyday in my own backyard helps me to make sense of it. Probably every mother (stay-at-home or not) can relate in some way to the physical toll her child's needs take on her own body. Parenting is a sacrifice of self. Most days, good days, we do not feel the pain of that sacrifice at all. We hear our children laugh, we share a quiet moment, and we know we'd sacrifice even so much more for the precious ones in our care.
But, if we're honest (and I hope I'm not alone in this) there are other times, times when we're keenly aware of the sacrifices of self that our kids require of us -- times when we'd just like our metaphorical udders to ourselves for just a moment or a chance to go to the bathroom in peace or get a good night's sleep. Thankfully, these moments are rare enough that I stay sane, that a simple breath of prayer: "Lord, grant me patience" is all it takes to bridge the gap and get me back to overwhelming thankfulness for the opportunity to mother my brood. :)
Oh, and the rhythmic sucking sound you hear at the beginning of the video is the sound of Oreo (not pictured in the video) sucking his bottle dry as I fed it to him with my left hand while filming Star with my right. See, even my goat kids have me juggling!