Motherhood Revisited

Around the world there are quite a few contrived holidays, i.e. in February we celebrate valentine’s day and we are encouraged to buy a gift for someone we fancy; in November we celebrate thanksgiving so we’re under the gun to buy lots and lots of food and get with the family; in May we celebrate mother’s day so the thing to do is to think about your mother and do something for her to show your love.

We could peg the mother holiday as among the ‘marketer’s greatest hits’ – remind everybody to love their mom, get them to buy and consume or mom will feel bad, and nobody wants mom to feel bad, so that’s the gig.

But then again, the ‘mom might need some love’ suggestion points to a reality, so it can get under your skin. Today is mother’s day, and I’ve been thinking of my mother all day, and about motherhood, and how children see mother as Their Own Possession. To a child, mother is not necessarily an individual living a life: she’s a need, so vital it can hardly be overstated. Cruel words, neglect or abuse from a mother can leave injuries and scars that are hard to heal. Intimacy, nurture, attention, encouragement, can give a child a stable footing that lasts a lifetime.

Mercy me… motherhood involves a lot more than giving birth, feeding and housing.

Not until one is grown, and can look back with their own wisdom and experience, can mother be seen as a person with flaws like all of us, nearly always doing her best. Seeing mother as a Self; spirit, energy, in a body, learning, experiencing, striving, evolving, failing, succeeding, bad mama, good mama, cold mama, warm mama, whatever she was or is, she is a spark of the divine, as worthy of love as any other.

Years ago, when I knew my mother was about to make her transition, I drove from Los Angeles back ‘home’ to a little town in the Midwest with nothing much in my heart but her… how to help her through, how to allow her to go. It was nearing sunset when I drove through Death Valley California, on the way north to a highway that would cross the Rocky Mountains. The landscape was eerie and barren, the moon was bright, and I stopped, and wrote to her:

Pisces full moon and desert twilight. Mother, I’m your daughter. Now you are death valley and I am the water. Parting for someplace unknown, I can see your body’s open window: you free… and I caught in a wave, to ride and ride until I come upon some shore, your death inside.

It would be years before I could realize I used the wrong word – I would not come upon some shore with her death inside; I would come upon the shore with her life inside. She’s still quite alive in me, not ‘her’ of course but my ‘feeling’ construction of her. And she is SO in my corner… that mother in me.

If I ask her to help me, since she is me, she happily complies: “Liberate yourself even if you feel that I was never free, trust yourself even if you believe that I did not trust you, love yourself because I know all about you and I love you, go for your highest potential and never stop even if you think I never reached mine.”

Happy mother’s day to all of the women out there who have agreed to be two persons: 1) your Self, and 2) your child’s Personal Human. Have fun with it – pass along the best of you. It actually is one of the greatest journeys into ‘know thyself’ you’ll ever experience.


Thank you for being Mine, Emily!



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