February 20, 2008

Unfinished Mom

I am the unfinished mother of this unfinished dad. And, I’ll remain an unfinished mother till I my last breath drifts away.

Little did I know that from the moment my first child was born and placed in my arms, parenthood would identify me for the rest of my life. No other calling asks so completely of a person, from the mundane to the ethereal. Coos and giggles, teacher, nurse and doctor, bosom buddy, safety coordinator, silent partner, supporter, audience and participant, pillow and playmate. This new little person, the entire person, needs all me from his first breadth.

Now, three and a half grandchildren later, my thoughts wander to my children on a daily basis. Are they happy and fulfilled? Have I done enough or too much? How’d Louie do in the ice storm yesterday or Joe in tornadoes with no basement? Will Bobby’s back get better and will Katie’s artwork receive another prize this year? My role now is minimal. Thoughts more than actions. Love from a distance.

Sometimes I think of myself as a favorite old mirror off in a corner somewhere. Maybe in a cozy spare bedroom. My frame might be a little dented here and there but the looking glass still functions well. When my child approaches, I can reflect back to them what they hope to see. Their soul’s beauty, their innate goodness, their varied talents and their hopes and dreams. The things I have always seen in them and the possibilities I’ve always believed in.

This is good, it’s as it should be. From the depth of my heart, I loved every minute of having my children about me. Sweet memories too complex and many to write about without my mind swirling with emotion. But it’s their time to shine and be the center of their universe. To be so intensely focused on their own new families with amazing energies surrounding them. What a joy to see!

And sometimes, life offers a bonus gift, quite unexpectedly.

The phone rings and my son says simply, “I need you, my wife is sick”.

There is no hesitation, nothing to discuss, no second thoughts. He needs help, I can and I will.

Before my thoughts can wrap around what I will feel in the next few days,
Annie is in my arms.
My child’s baby is in my arms.
Wrapped in each others warmth,
I sing the same songs that put my own to sleep.
Together, in quiet and softness,
The circle is complete!


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