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February—A Look Back

February—A Look Back

February is the month of love, and tends to give us pause to reflect on our own relationships. Often, I find myself on Valentine’s Day desperately trying to find new and exciting ways to express my love. After 18 years with my husband, two kids, and a stack of bills, the easiest thing to do would be to pick out a card, write XO and call it good. But I want more than that.

I want the excitement.

I want the passion.

I want what we had in the beginning.

Recently, I listened to an episode of Dear Sugar Radio with Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond (yes, I have a total crush on Cheryl Strayed), and they spoke to this exact topic. In Episode 4: Making Love, Cheryl read a poem, and it resonated with me so much that I have to share it with you...

Habitation
by Margaret Atwood

Marriage is not
a house or even a tent

it is before that, and colder;

the edge of the forest, the edge 
of the desert
the unpainted stairs
at the back where we squat
outside, eating popcorn

the edge of the receding glacier

where painfully and with wonder
at having survived even
this far

we are learning to make fire

This poem suggests the idea of "why" you fell in the love in the first place. Those feelings in the beginnning—the flutters, adrenaline, sexual tension—that make it so special. Even though we can never get those beginning moments back, we need to remember that without that start—that fire—we would never be where we are now. And as Cheryl says, “When we forget to make the fire, love dies.”

In reading, selecting and publishing your stories this month, you’ve also reminded me of the “why” behind Mamalode. It’s you, dear readers, writers, and fans that keep us going. It was our reason from the very beginning, to connect through story telling with passion, truth, and with each other. 

And oh my heart, how you carried this passion into February's stories.

You wrote about the freedom in the whirlwind years, how your son refused to take a bottle, and how what you found in the trash could actually tell your story. You bravely wrote about your fears of post-partum sex, and as a single mom, how sex was without wanting. You questioned whether modesty really made men behave better, and if you loved enough.

You brought sexy back, held on to the one that didn't fail, and you still rocked a bikini. And no matter how hard you tried, the baby won every time.

At times all working moms wanted was more time with their kids, and you were grateful for the unsung hero in your battle with infertility. You found your way in parenting, and answered tough questions about threesomes. Is there room for two and the nighttime creeper, you wondered? 

A promise was pledged and the perfect Valentine's Day gift discovered. It may have taken some tears, but you taught him what you want, and savored the fleeting moments. Love poured out of the letters from the war, and a different kind of Valentine. You searched for your next love and found peace after losing a pet. You found the joy in the gray, and prayed your baby would sleep throught the night.

The rhythm of passions found each other in the mundane. A mom was on a quest for an orgasm, and you finally decoded what women really want. 

You questioned conformity in school spirit days, and defended love and being a helicopter mom. You learned the value of compassion and why you love to read aloud to your husband. Your days were filled with love and debris.  

For the first time, you saw your mother, and then your daughter saw you. You wrote about the best therapy there is. We dedicated a whole day to sharing hands free mama's stories. 

You wrote about being a dominatrix mom and the heartbreaking flow of winter, even when your boys grow up.

Most importantly, this month you showed us how to love, find love and be love.

Even from the beginning.

XO.

***

Categories: essays mama says

Sarah Geurts Millar

Sarah Millar is the managing editor at Mamalode. She has the pleasure of wrangling not only writers but also her two daughters and husband. Most days you'll find her moving words around on a page or curating the best of the information freeway.
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