4. My Two Moms
'Nice Girls Can Be Naughty': A series of articles, By Erica Miner
Excerpted From Erica's Novel, Travels With My Lovers:
I watched the bustling police activity all around me - a response to my impassioned plea to the Carabinieri, in my hit-and-miss Italian - to help me locate my son. I could barely describe Julian without bursting into tears. I was so flustered, in fact, that I gave the Police Chief my maiden name by mistake, then had to correct myself. I must really be overwrought, I imagined. This was very unlike me. After almost nine years of marriage, I was as wedded to my married name as I was to the robust, hair-curling espressos that Eric made for me every morning.
As the hours dragged on, my sunburned arms felt as if they’d fall off from having to carry ill-tempered little Regina all around the Palazzo Vecchio. (Of course I couldn’t blame her - what kid her age wouldn’t be grumpy, traipsing through the Uffizi Gallery for two hours with her fanatic art-lover mom?) And in the midst of all the confusion, which was all the more so since it was Italian confusione, the poor kid’s nose had started bleeding all over my shoulder and onto the sidewalk, completely annihilating a fledgling street-Michelangelo’s masterpiece-in-progress. I handed him a five thousand lire note to start him off on his next one. He grumbled, “Grazie,” and we fled before the crimson tide engulfed what was left of his artistic endeavor.
Personal Narrative By Erica Miner:
"At this point, I was in a dreamlike fog, divided into two moms: one who was having an almost out-of-body experience watching what was going on around her, and the other, who was panicked beyond control. This dichotomy was a reflection of the defense mechanism we as moms develop in order to cope with crisis situations with out kids. It just would not do to lose my composure, but it was almost impossible not to. Again, I let drop a subtle hint of the nagging doubt in my mind about my husband’s absence. There must have been some ambivalence about him for me to flail about my married name.
Meanwhile, as all of you with more than one child are aware, the non-missing child needed attention as well. This passage brings to mind what my brother-in-law had warned me about after he had his second child. “Two kids are four times as much work as one, not twice as much,” he advised me. Not that it prevented me from having another kid after my son. But it hit home as I tried to handle the grief and panic of searching for my lost child while simultaneously dealing with the needs of the one who clung to my shoulder at the time. I was besieged with guilt: for subjecting a toddler to the intricacies of a renowned art museum in which only I was interested, and even more so for losing her older brother. Why are moms always so torn? Do you think it’s because we’re always multitasking to Herculean proportions, trying to deal with so many things at once?"