mother musings…5-15-23


On Saturday night I fell into the photograph rabbit hole, precious images archiving what it looked like to be a young family.  This greased the wheels for many tears on a Mother’s Day that skirted outside the bounds of Hallmark.  I’ve been a mom for well over forty years but it was only yesterday, as I danced on the Clara floor, that I recognized what a wave-like journey motherhood took me upon.

The deep flow of this experience began so innocently.  A dream, a vision, a longing miraculously manifesting as seedling.  My body incessantly changing into a life support vessel.  Exotic sensations: the weight, the tenderness, the swelling, the awkward grace of it all.  I had already spent thirty years in this trusty body yet never felt anything comparable.  And then the burst of birth, the suckling wetness, intertwining identities.  I lost myself, I found someone else, the inseparability, the fear, the doubt, the ecstasy, the exhaustion.

And then there was another independent being with distinct needs and desires and opinions.  Every staccato skill I had fostered stepped up to the plate.  The ditzy hectic years.  Another pregnancy, another infant.  Losing my own Mom just as this new chapter began.  And my brother.  Fevers and nightmares, stacks of library books, crayons, Play Dough.  Potty training, endless questions, bunk beds.  One devastating illness.  Day care and kindergarten and report cards.  Knee pads and uniforms and hoops. That upright piano and vacations and, oh yeah, earning a living, paying the rent, feeding the multitudes.  Finding time and space and love for my partner in life.  More exhaustion laced with joy and terror and pride and uncertainty.  It felt perpetual, Sysiphean and moving at the speed of light.

And then overnight our house began rocking in chaos with teen-agers and raging hormones and attitude.  Everything previously dialed in was not so reliable.  Our home  was loud with love and slammed doors and screeching brakes, raucous laughter, stumbling boundaries.  Unpredictable sophisticated re-plays of the Terrible Twos.  There was a lot of confusion and unsuccessful attempts at control.  And there was always hope and tenderness and devotion.  Ultimately there was nothing to do but let go, stay present, hang on for the ride.  And pray.

Somehow we all came through this portal intact and these seedlings launched.  They actually moved out of the house to take their first fumbling forays into adulthood.  Lyrical it was, the whole family shape shifting into what destiny had in store.  For me, the dance appeared right in this moment, age of fifty.  A Mama bear in an empty den.  An aching in my heart matched by a tingling in my soul.  My time.  At last.  Though the phone could ring at any moment.  And it did.

Now I settle into the stillness that book ends this wave of motherhood, at rest in a peace that sheds all over me.  I witness my stunning children as they make their own mark, find their own place in the world.  Good citizens of an ailing planet, contributing and loving in ways that buoy and astonish me.  In the eyes of my grandchildren lives the spirit of all who’ve come before me.  I breathe in the completion of this mothering wave, even as I feel the spiraling nature of it continues through time with them, my children.

Eternally grateful to my teacher Gabrielle Roth:

“Energy moves in waves. Waves move in patterns.
Patterns move in rhythms. Human beings are just that:
energy, waves, patterns, and rhythms…
nothing more, nothing less…a dance.

May the wonder of human birth and the sanctity of life continue to strike awe in the depths of our being….💗Bella