The dichotomy of motherhood is a mysterious thing.
On one end of the spectrum I daydream about having my infant son back in my arms; there are moments when I feel so close to being overwhelmed by an intense longing for just one more hour with my baby. I can be brought to tears recalling the gift I was unaware of at the time, the peaceful surrender into the quiet stillness of 3:00am rocking my infant back to sleep. The joy I felt in the simplicity of watching my baby’s chest rise and fall as he settled back into slumber. If I could be granted one wish in this lifetime, it would be for just one more day with my infant.
On the other end of the mother spectrum, I daydream about the man my son will become. Where will he go to college? What will he study? Who will be the first girl to break his heart and how I will deal with that? Will he tell me about it? Who will he marry? What kind of a father will he be? I can guess at the answer to all of those question based upon knowing his strengths and his weaknesses.
If I could be granted a second wish, it would be to be a fly on the wall when my son rocks his own child back to sleep at 3:00am. Johnny will be one of those fully present dads who gets up in the middle of the night to comfort his baby. I know this in my bones. He's going to be a man of integrity because he's a child of impeccable character. It is so, so bittersweet, but I'm excited for my son to find his own way and live the life that lays ahead of him.
Today I honor the amazing gift that was given to me at 6:21pm on June 27th, 1999, my son, John Clark, my one true thing. How did I ever get so lucky to have been chosen to be his mom? And will I screw it up? I want to share with you a poem by Gibran, that serves as my Mother Compass.
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.
I want to thank all of the women in my life who have “mothered” me along my way. Lord knows I needed each of you. Each of you mattered, each of you contributed to my being the mother I am.
Finally, I want to honor my own motherless mother, my solid rock of mother-love who on this day I imagine to be celebrating her first child, me, and grieving the loss of her second child, my beautiful sister, Julie; the depth of that sorrow is unimaginable to me. I love you, mom.