The post that wasn’t.

Dear friends,

Source: Allposters.com

Last night I was busy being a mother to children who needed me.

And so the post that was to be, wasn’t.

I know you’ll understand that I spent my time doing the thing that was needed most and that I always consider my highest calling, instead of composing a few pithy thoughts to share with you.

With gratitude {for the honor and joy of raising the two dearest souls I know},

Joan, who would like to offer you a few words on mothering she wrote in 1999 but are still as true to her heart today as they were all those years ago

On being a mother

I am a mother and that is all I know.

My children run through me like blue through a river and I cannot remember me before them.

Before little hands snapped necklaces off my neck in a shower of beads as sudden as a summer storm; before the bluest eyes I have ever known searched mine for traces of anger or love; before four dirty, bare feet raced across the backyard to be the first to greet me on a day when the office made me indispensable and made me late; before the sweet skin of my children became the only perfume I craved; before ten cold toes invaded my warmth at 3:00 a.m. and I awakened only to long for ten more; before I knew my dream could be a freckled girl and a sandy boy who take my breath when I watch them sleep; I did not know anything.

My babies crept inside me in ways I cannot shake. I delivered them into the world in crying, surgical fits and though they escaped my body, they imprinted my soul with a code I cannot crack.

They are me and I have forgotten the world in ways beyond theirs. I interpret meaning through routine and, as we march through days, I sometimes stop to listen to a rhythm that reminds me why my heart beats.

When my son asks me to sit beside him on the porch, only to climb onto my lap and describe the boundaries of his universe while his cheek is warmed by mine; when my daughter alters her path to take my hand and walk alongside me; when two small voices rise in pitch until they crack and tumble into the bath water amid soapy waves, I know that grace envelops me.

When my daughter says “I just want to make you happy” after I praise her for eating all her peas; when my son’s quiet song makes itself known only to me; when my daughter’s gift is a picture with the words “my mom is a great mom”; when my son grabs my neck and holds on as if I was leaving his life instead of his bed, I know that nothing I can do is worthy of their hearts or as precious as their love.

I know that the beauty of life is in small moments, not large, and that very precious, very small moments are to be unearthed every day by a mother’s hands from the roughest clods of her life.

I know that a child’s voice is the purest, and that no amount of noise can drown its innocence and love.

I know that wisdom is not in what may be had but in what may be shared.

I know that dreams are not discovered until a child enters your life.

I know that hope is unending as long as I am a mother.

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Comments

  1. A postscript to my friend Deb, the Luddite: You’ll be interested to know this essay from long ago was NOT one recovered from my crashed computer, though I searched in vain during a sleepless night (which is often the result of intense mothering). Thankfully, I had a hard copy tucked away in an old binder. Lesson learned.

  2. Joan – This brought tears to my eyes. You’ve captured the essence of motherhood so beautifully.

  3. Truth is there shining in your postscript – a sleepless night is often the result of intense mothering. But what a prize to show for it with that recovered essay.

    Today, as you continue to stare down the prospect of an emptying nest, I am guessing you are recognizing no matter how old they get, even “grown” children still need their Mommies. Children do grow up, they may even move away, but that connection you write so movingly about? Time and distance are nothing in the face of that bond.

  4. PS: Joan Marie, some days that is exactly how I feel – like an old binder filled with hard copies trying to be meaningful in a digital world. That said, when the first plug-in memory card becomes available for this gal’s blood and guts version of a hard drive (read:brain) I will be at the front of the line.

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  1. [...] of having kids to steer myself in the opposite direction. And then I bump into this post about being a girl’s mom, and I want to kick myself in the [...]

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