For some reason this Mothers' Day has been different from those in the past. The last week has been full of introspection for me. My thoughts have been full of my mother, of my aunt Martha who stepped in when she died, of other women who have played a mother role in my life, and of my own thoughts and dreams of motherhood. This year is different. This year has been of reflection of my past while looking towards the future, but also striving to live in the now.
My mother died when I was 6, but my memories of her are still vivid. I still remember her voice, her smile and the way she smelled. I can still taste her homemade donuts as if I just had them yesterday. She used to make them when my uncle Boots would come and play cards...I can still here his laughter in our kitchen and the anticipation of the powdered donuts and all their yummy goodness that were sure to come as the game ended. The image of my father kissing her cheek as she was cooking dinner is still with me. I can still feel her arms around me as a sat in her lap. Even the smallest gestures of mothers live on in their children's memories. She wasn't long on this earth, but she touched many lives. No one who knew her can remember her without a smile and a little sadness that she was gone so quickly. She was her name embodied: Grace
Although her death and my father's subsequent stroke meant I was separated from a wonderful loving family core, I can't say I could have chosen a better family to take care of me. My mother's brother and his wife gladly accepted me into their already large family with no questions and no doubt that the right thing was to not only provide the basics, but to make sure my life was as enriched and as blessed as it possibly could be. Most of their children were grown, but they chose to open their home and their hearts to a little girl they hardly knew. My aunt Martha became my mom and took on everything that comes with a mother-daughter relationship. She hurt more than I did when kids were mean to me, she wanted me to have every opportunity she did not growing up. Although we don't always agree and sometimes don't see eye to eye, I know that all she does is out of love and affection for her children and the wish for them to have rich fulfilling lives. She is mother to five, but mom to many many more.
As I have come into my own as an adult...although I still have no idea how and when I became an adult, it all happened rather quickly, I have been fortunate to have many women share their wisdom in mother roles. Dr. Tee has been a major mother figure in my life and I can't say that I would be near the woman I have become without her influence. She showed me how to think and how to be myself with no fear when I was making my first steps into being an adult woman. She is a woman of passion who refuses to compromise who she is or what she stands for, although it sometimes gets her in trouble or gets her fired. My mother-in-law Evelyn, who is THE most amazing mother-in-law in the world. She has shown me that you can love your children completely unconditionally and disagree with their choices, but still accept them and love them as who they are. She never meddles, she may give advice, but if it isn't taken, she never says "I told you so." She allows her children and their spouses space to be adutls, while still holding them close in her heart.
As for my thoughts and dreams of motherhood, I know I need to be patient and that my turn will come when it comes. The logical part of me realizes Leonard is probably right, that we should probably wait until we are a little more financially stable (recovering from one partner being out of work for 2 years can take time), however there is another part of me that screams "but I'm ready now and want a baby now!" Sometimes I want to be illogical because are you ever really "ready" financially or otherwise for kids?? However, I also know that children come when they want to and not always in the most conventional manner and moms always seem to figure out a way to make it work. Sometimes it's of your body and when and how you plan it, sometimes it's not when you want it or how you imagined, but it seems as though the best moms step forward and do what needs to be done, no matter who needs mothering or when. I've been very lucky to be witness to great examples of motherhood and can only hope that when it's my turn to venture into that stage of life, I can make all of them proud as only a child can make a mother proud.
Monday, May 2, 2011
A couple events have happend in the last couple months that have made me realize that I need an outlet for my thoughts and creative spirit. I don't paint, I don't draw, rather, when I really need to express myself I write. I had forgotten that and have been restless and anxious for an outlet without realizing from where my anxious, restless feeling was coming. As many of you know, and are priviledged to be a part of, Dr. Tee has a gathering of women every year at the Winter Solstice to share a piece of writing or some other medium that has to deal with light. Every year I look up quotes about light, but this past solstice it wasn't enough. I had to write...my soul was tired of being without a place to let itself out. Still after I wrote the piece below (it came pouring out of me in minutes), I ignored it. I was recently at a baby shower that was in an amazing space at Women Writing for (a) Change, the space and women within it were shouting at me "you need to write...why aren't you allowing yourself a space?!? who cares how someone might read what you say??" Finally enough is enough, whether anyone reads what I write, I need it. It is my way of expressing all that is me.
Light and the Fellowship with Women (Winter Solstice 2010)
I’ve been looking forward to this evening for the last couple weeks. Each year, I know that if Tee is in the area, she will have a gathering of women to celebrate the return of the light. Each year I know that no matter who shows up or what they have to say, I will leave feeling renewed and that my soul has been fed. Each year that we come together, I know that I will hear something I need to hear, and I might say something that someone needs to hear or that I need to hear myself say. For this reason, I decided that this year I would share my own thoughts on light.
For me light represents the positive, it represents enlightenment and illumination and it represents life and freedom. Without light, we would go through life without truly living and focusing only on the negative aspects of what this world has to offer, instead of seeing the bright potential that is within us. Without accepting who we truly are and illuminating all the dark corners of our hearts and minds no matter how scary those areas of ourselves may be, we are destined to live in a negative, dead, caged space. Forever struggling to find the light from the outside, instead of realizing that true happiness and peace comes from shining our lights from within. Many say life is a journey, I say life is a journey of enlightenment and illumination; discovering new parts of us hiding in the dark.
As I have traveled through this life, there have been times when the light within me has been dim or nearly gone out completely. Times when I let what is happening on the outside work its way in and slowly, but surely allow my light to be smothered. It is during those times that I have learned to love my female friends and relatives, for they are the ones who offer to share their light so I can make my way out of the darkness. They show me new areas of light within me that I sometimes don’t realize are there, or sometimes don’t want to see. They do not allow me to sit in the dark and despair. They encourage me to fan the spark, then the flame until it is a burning fire that refuses to go cold or dark . For this I am very thankful. Women who laugh with me, who cry with me, who love me as I am without judgment who share their light freely and fully no matter how much darkness they are trying to illuminate within their own souls. For this I am forever grateful. This is what life is about…See your light and share it with others.