Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Of Motherhood and Whale Wars – a guest post

Today’s post is very special because for one it’s the first guest post on Moomser, but mostly because the writer is very special to me. The woman who wrote it has been my friend for eons, her family was a second family to me and she’s one of the best writers I know. Her blog The Nero Chronicles is all about beautiful things, whether you are into art and design or not it’s definitely worth a visit. So here I leave you to Nero, enjoy.

Parenting, or more specifically motherhood, is a topic that either pops up on our blogs intermittently or peppers our daily convos ad nauseam. 
I like to think that being a mother is a bit like being engulfed by quicksand, only brighter. Once you dip your toe in, there's no turning back, you're in over your head most days and yet there are those instants -- fleeting flashes of light -- that buoy us and help make the sneaking suspicion that we're permanently beached creatures worthwhile. 
Moomser and I grew up together in Houston, our parents and brothers were fast friends. 
She was a few years my senior and as such looked up to like a demigoddess by an awestruck, pudgy and bespectacled me. 
She crossed the threshold into high school before I did and it now seems hard to believe that after years of safety-pinning my schoolgirl kilts to try and emulate Moomser's more whittled waist, and watching her chew gum or chat boys with her peers over the phone,
we're both more-than-grown mothers of wee ones.

Moomser and I parted ways in the way that life and studies and family send people to far-flung places to be chiseled, refined and ultimately, defined. 
She spent several years in Milan, I in Buenos Aires, Madrid, Paris, and we lost touch. 
But in time blogging and motherhood helped us find one another again. It is fascinating how becoming a mother -- that most complicit act between two symbiotic beings -- leads us, so often bewildered and frazzled, to reach out to other moms more than ever before. 
And so across the distance, she in Italy and I in Houston, we check in on each other's lives and on what our children are up to through the blogosphere. 
Much like when Moomser was a leggy teen, but also different, I often find myself in awe of her -- of what a loving and generous mother she's become, of how supportive and steadfast a wife, of what a finely honed but solid rock.

It baffles me how unlike our innermost selves our children can be. I was a child of fantasy, of make believe. The world scarcely seemed a bearable place to be unless I was imaging the parallel lives of elves or vampires.
My son, however, is a staunch realist. He often brings me down to earth when I begin to wander or ramble, reminding me that such and such quite simply don't exist. That is of course unless he's telling me about the ghosts that come out at night in his room, then a glimmer of hope overtakes me, which is quickly snuffed out by the part of me that longs for uninterrupted sleep and crosses-fingers that whatever particular Casper seems to be haunting his dreams, he won't make a cameo tonight.

In lieu of tales of knights or dragons, goblins or warlocks, Tarek would rather listen intently to accounts of the dark underwater battles, miles below the ocean's surface, between the sperm whale and the giant squid. These violent jousts take place in "the dark depths" according to his latest favorite book, and in pitch black save for the flickering of the bioluminescent creatures which inhabit those murky, otherworldly reaches.

Just think, while you or I may be unloading groceries or taking out the trash, busying ourselves with the mundane, somewhere deep in some unknown ocean, tentacles and giant tails could be dangerously entwined. An often deadly altercation that would otherwise cause the earth to shake and rumble, veiled in water, goes down without a superficial ripple. 
Is that a bit what mothering, what life, is like? An ongoing push and pull, an inner strength rallying to direct and encourage, an often opposing outer force to grow and thrive? And when it's all said and done, is the surface of the ocean left smooth as glass?

It's likely we may never know with clarity. Life at its most basic is confounding but luckily the ongoing banter of the blogosphere, the sharing of what would otherwise be secrets or concerns, alleviates some of the angst somehow. 
The "you are not alone" followed by the great communal sigh of relief voiced as "oh, yours does that too?" reminds us that we are a tangled web but still interlinked. And so Moomser and I and many of you soldier on and blog and chit-chat, swap recipes, techniques, philosophies and converse. And meanwhile, many miles down, squid and whales duke it out for survival just as our children are learning to do under our guidance. 

Ultimately, the kids'll likely turn out okay, and we'll look back on the loving battle as little more than a life-brawl. And if this is what it takes to stay interconnected, engaged, in the moment, then so be it.  

image by Chris Goodwin


  1. The kids do turn out is us mothers who become battle weary! Lovely post Alcira....xv

  2. What a great post! Well written!

    Have a beautiful day!


    Luciane at

  3. What a beautifully written and philosophical post. Thanks for sharing your lovely analogies - and thanks to Moomser for sharing her space. x

  4. well said. I wish I could say my ocean always appears calm despite the battles but sometimes we make some ripples, waves even.

  5. Ah the mystery guest. And not only well said but I now know that Moomser is leggy...

  6. Grazie, dearest Moomser,

    For being, as always, the quintessentially gracious hostess ;)
    You're still leggy as ever, btw!
    Ciao and baci, Alcira

  7. Beautifully written and startlingly insightful, as always. Tarek is a lucky little dude.

  8. @Luciane at Nero certainly always does write well, doesn't she!

  9. @mothersalwaysright She's got a knack for words, this girl, I tell ya!

  10. E ringrazia che sono un essere pietoso e non ti telefono, vista l'ora, per pretendere una veloce ed estemporanea traduzione. Ma stavolta non la scampi!!
    Nel frattempo buona notte

  11. @Alcira Molina-Ali Thank you, Alcira for your lovely words!

  12. Lovely post and so true, this adventure that is motherhood. It is wonderful that the world of blogging brought you two together again.

  13. well said. I wish I could say my ocean always appears calm despite the battles but sometimes we make some ripples, waves even.

  14. The kids do turn out is us mothers who become battle weary! Lovely post Alcira....xv