Sunday, May 10, 2009

The wonder of it all

Twice in my life, I became a mother.

I was not ready, at first, for the tremendous responsibility of holding that tiny newborn and trying to calm her cries, giving her what she needed. Those first few weeks were a blur of anxiety and apprehension. Am I doing it right? The it, of course, being motherhood. My mother only smiled back at me, wisely and mysteriously. She knew what I had yet to learn, that children are resilient and everything was going to be fine.

By the time my son arrived, I had learned a lot. Not only was I more relaxed but so was he. Big eyes, quietly attentive ... watching, always watching.

I love the mathematics of motherhood. The years of struggling and caring and worrying and trying to get it right. Providing roots but also wings. The years fly by and suddenly, from 2, there comes a new generation of 1,2,3,4,5! Now it's my turn to smile and assure my grown kids that they are beautiful and strong parents, that they are certainly doing it right.

Beyond the abundance, I return to a simple act - holding my daughter, stroking her until she falls asleep. Doing what I did so many years ago, wiping her tears and providing a safe space.

I think being a mother takes you to the heights and depths of human experience. Your children's joys and sorrows carve niches in your soul. Sometimes, the richest moments are the most basic. Holding. Comforting. Knowing when to be silent. Looking down at your grown daughter's sleeping face and catching your breath ... remembering those eyelashes on a baby, held and sung to so, so long ago. Smiling your mother's smile and praying that everything will, indeed, be fine.


Friday, May 01, 2009

Swimming lessons

I usually write positive things but this seems the perfect day to release some bad news at the micro level.

My job is 'being eliminated' on July 1. My boss told me the same afternoon I found out that I have some dental problems. The dental problems have turned into three surgical procedures. No dental plan. Small amount of savings as a nest egg for the unemployment will now be re-directed to the periodontist.

Sophie's favorite goldfish (it was actually black and silver) went belly up under my watch. I have yet to tell Sophie who named this little fish Midnight and faithfully reminded me to sing "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" each night to both Midnight and Goldie. At her last sleepover, though, she announced that the fish were older now and didn't need the lullaby. I think I need the lullaby. Goldfish is tucked away in a plastic cup in the freezer. I owe it to Sophie to let her decide how to settle the remains of her little friend. One if by land, two if by sea ...

Jenn is still trying hard to keep herself afloat. The latest there is a hole in the roof. You can't even make this stuff up.

May day, May day! I guess we'll keep treading water until the rescue ship arrives.

A mother-daughter sitcom. Or the Titanic.