on mothering. . .
It’s strange. . .what my girls will remember about me is most definitely not what i plan for them to remember. Their memories are both within my control and completely outside of it. . .
My mom may not think her 5 minute lay-down-on-the-couch-reset at the end of a day at school before she organized the chaos the four of us created as a life lesson. But, I remember. She was both everyone’s teacher and our mom. Always both, inseparable. Perfect. She taught me it was possible to have two callings and do them both well in the span of 5 minutes each day.
David’s mom probably wouldn’t realize that her trips to Lowe’s to buy lumber for questionably safe structures in the back yard to wile away the afternoon would define his lifetime of self sufficiency and creativity and love a making things in all mediums and materials.
I may think the girls will define me by sewing projects or elaborate parties or grand adventures or snuggling into bed on a lazy morning. Those will build their memories, but perhaps, instead, my actual success as a mom will be defined when they complete some thing on their own without me, rather than with my guidance.
Maybe it will be defined by the fierce independence they seem to have gained from me as they define their place in this world book by devoured book, or height by conquered height, and the wonder of realizing they have accomplished something that was at one time impossible for them.
This mother’s day, I watched my girls maneuver the day with little suggestion or help from me. They walked with breezy confidence, unfettered for the moment, but then they would glance up and wait for recognition that they had been seen.
It is a delicate balance – this letting go and seeing them, this still-tethered freedom, this paradox of release and gathering.
I know I have moved from the age of them cuddling on my lap and letting me kiss their wounds to a time where they are moving with fierce certainty into the world around them. I can only hope for a sense of kindness and independence, of justice and deep seated joy to take hold of them – and that some of that, in ways I can’t control or imagine – will come from me.