13
May
07

Mother Lover

little-warriors.jpg

When the twins were 3 months old, their dad and I moved into our own place and stared slack-jawed, sat there watching helplessly while the baby chick of our relationship buckled under the strain of new parenting, job loss, childcare woes, and postpartum depression. Not long after, I decided to leave the twins dad, packed up my girls and my things and moved to a small farm town north of Seattle. We shared custody, but I was primary custodian and day-in day-out with the loving help and support of my family, I loved and raised the babies, commuted to my Seattle job, and tried to keep going.

Little by little, I became a mother. Each hurdle, each night time feeding, each stomach flu and cold, each bottle made and given, each morning high adrenaline rush, each nightly bath. Fierce tenderness crept into my veins and coursed into my heart, thawing and softening as it came.

When I look at them, my first beloved daughters, I see love and hope and beautiful eccentricity. When I look at them and feel all that I’m responsible for, I’m often breathless with the anvil of dread and fear. But other times, I’m a warrior. Willing to fall on my sword for my beloveds, willing to ignore slings, arrows, boredom, and suffocation for them.

Mothers sacrifice so much for their kids. And so it has been since time immemorial. But what are we sacrificing that we (and they) might need later? Our souls? Our passion? Our drive? When I think of who I want my daughters to become (fully themselves), I wonder what will become of me if I fail to give them my whole whole self (not just the smiling cheerful sandwich-maker with secret fantasies).

Children are an opportunity to look deeply into the center of our hearts and find what’s there in all its love, fear, hope, and striving. We wonder how much we can give, how far we can push, to insure the safety and happiness of our progeny. But can we be good mothers without giving it all away? Does self-abnegation remain the highest accomplishment of true mother-love?

My mother’s day wish is this: That we can find a light and love-filled path for my family to walk on, without anyone dying inside, without anyone needlessly suffering, and without the joy of childhood getting lost in the middle of the adult-sized drama.

***
For some lovely reflections on motherhood and what it means to be real, go to Real Mom Truths.

Other fabulous mother’s day reads, include Redneck Mommy, Her Bad Mother, Troll Baby, and the ever-lovely Kevin Charnas.

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12 Responses to “Mother Lover”


  1. May 13, 2007 at 12:54 pm

    R,
    Happy Mother’s Day to you. May you find the path you need.
    J

  2. 2 karrie
    May 13, 2007 at 2:07 pm

    Happy Mother’s Day! 🙂

  3. 3 Bon
    May 13, 2007 at 5:36 pm

    i think you caught the big three of real, worth wishes there at the end…nobody dying inside, needlessly suffering, or losing childhood in the middle.

    a beautiful post. i’m with Oh the Joys…may you find the path you need. we all need it.

  4. May 13, 2007 at 6:03 pm

    I hate that you’re hurting like this and hope that you find the answers you need and soon.

  5. May 13, 2007 at 8:26 pm

    Every day should be mother’s day. Maybe then we’d not be forced (by our own choices or society’s) to give more than we have to our children. There’s just not enough of me to go around these days — and I realize that I need to give it out in small doses.

    You were in my dream last night. I’m thinking of you.

  6. May 14, 2007 at 6:44 am

    Happy belated mother’s day! Hope you find the light at the end of the tunnel soon and I also think that you’ll find a balance in time and that loss of self doesn’t have to be part of the picture of being a good mom.

  7. May 14, 2007 at 7:39 am

    What a beautiful piece. And what you’ve written gets to the heart and soul of why I want to go back to school to be a nurse. What I’ve given my children thus far is invaluable. But I don’t need to give up my dreams just to be their mother.

    Lovely. Really lovely.

  8. May 14, 2007 at 10:01 am

    “Children are an opportunity to look deeply into the center of our hearts and find what’s there in all its love, fear, hope, and striving. We wonder how much we can give, how far we can push, to insure the safety and happiness of our progeny. But can we be good mothers without giving it all away? Does self-abnegation remain the highest accomplishment of true mother-love?”

    You’ve summed up my daily thoughts in this beautiful paragraph. I hope you had a nice Mother’s Day.

  9. May 14, 2007 at 10:43 am

    “But can we be good mothers without giving it all away?”

    I swear, I ask myself that very question just about daily. I make it my job to find a way to be a good mother without giving it all away. Some call me selfish. I call myself complete, which I believe sets the best example possible for my child.

  10. May 14, 2007 at 10:56 am

    I’m with Chaos – you really need to be your own person, not just the Mama. It’s SO important.

    I love ya lady. It WILL be okay. Thanks for the linky love here and at Babble.

  11. 11 Coffee Queen
    May 14, 2007 at 1:58 pm

    What a touching post. Thank you so much for putting these difficult feelings into such thoughtful words.

  12. May 15, 2007 at 5:25 am

    Your post is really touching. Really. You hit on all the notes that so many mums go through at one time or another. Perhaps continually in my case.

    But please bear in mind that you do seem to have made such a success of yourself: as a woman, and a mother!

    Wishing you a (belated) very happy Mothers Day!


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