Motherhood & Doctorhood, Go Together Like a Horse & Carriage?

Dear Evangeline,

 

When you reach that ripe age of three and learn how to google mommy’s name, you’ll be brought to these pages. You’ll also notice there has been a four month-long gap in my writing. Well, mommy’s been going through something that we call in the world of adults, “some shit.” I didn’t feel like talking about it. I still don’t. But I’ll make some incredibly vague references that you can read into as much or as little as you like. I did decide to revisit these pages today, though, because I believe it’s important that you know why my thoughts have been traveling through timeless black holes; why I can’t seem to get a grip on reality; why I’ve been crawling through my own skin, trying to figure out how to make it fit again.

Some day, Evangeline, a stork may drop a little baby like you on your doorstep. If that happens, you’ll fall deeply in love. It’s a special kind of love: it will strike you like lightening and make your heart pulse so quickly that you may even forget how to love yourself. Because nothing in your world will light you up like that little being. You’ll feel happy because you’ll never feel such joy. You’ll feel afraid because you don’t ever want to lose that feeling. And you’ll feel sad because you’ll struggle to reconcile your maternal yearnings and your intellectual needs.

You see, I was never quite sure what I wanted to be when I grew up, Eva. And I always found that perplexing. But when the stork showed up, my problems became deep. I discovered what I want to be: the best mother on the planet. I want to be the best role model for you in the world. I want to take you by the hand and say, “follow me!” And when the time is right, I want you to tug on me, and tell me, “no, mom, my road is this way. But thanks for showing me how to find my exit.” I want to be the world to you by showing you, by example, how to explore your own version of it. I want you to be my co-pilot, and I want to be yours. I want to give you everything, but the only way I can do that is if I am not your everything. How can I tell you to take life by the reigns, to become empowered and to live your passions, if I am letting go of all of mine? When I look at you, Eva, I see a brilliant little girl with guts, confidence and incredible leadership skills. You are everything a girl should be. You are the re-defined definition of woman. Now I just can’t be the old definition of it anymore.

kateieva

I think every mother feels these things. They want to be present, but lead by example. They want to show you how to break glass ceilings, but struggle to find a way to show you how to break them without being suffocated by the very glass they can’t seem to break themselves. But something else has been happening to me. Something that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. My health has been falling steeply behind my mind. The thing is, I have big dreams for myself, Eva. And even bigger ones for you. But while my brain keeps gearing up for a marathon, my body has been begging for a long rest. And I fear that I will not be able to show you how to grow into your own beautiful skin.

It seems that, for now, my short-term fate is so far from the hopes and dreams I have grown for myself. My mother planted these seeds in me so very long ago. When I was three, I would dig big holes in her backyard and look for Native American artifacts. I had even told my pre-school teacher that I wanted to be an archaeologist. I would dig for hours: days, even. And for the longest time those holes were, well, they were just holes. But my mother would tell me to keep digging. “You’ll find what you’re looking for, honey. If you just keep digging, you’ll find it. I promise.”

I never found my artifacts, but I also never stopped looking for them. Sometimes, I lay awake at night and worry about where they are. When I do fall asleep, I can see them. But in the morning, all I can see is scattered and broken dreams. And I fear that those remnants of history are deeply intwined in my feelings of independence, self-worth and intellectual satisfaction. But I need you to know that just like those artifacts, the woman that I have always dreamed of being is in there somewhere. My mother helped me mold her. Every day, we would tweak her, sculpt and slave until she became so strong that no one could ever break her. She’s a bit lost right now. Lost somewhere in my skin. And I’m scared, sometimes, that I won’t be able to find her again. But my mother promised me that I would find whatever it is I’m looking for, if I would just keep digging. And now it’s a promise that I am making to you. I promise you, Evangeline, that I will never, ever stop digging for that woman.

 

Love,

 

Mama Pearce

 

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