I hesitate to write about this subject that is the first thought on my mind at 6:00 this morning. It is a subject written about, discussed and psychoanalyed perhaps more than any other. What about this primary relationship we each have with the woman from whose body we entered this life? Some never know their birth mothers while others have life-long intimate relationships. Some of us have the insight that giving birth to a child has brought to the subject. Others are left to wonder what that event brings with it to the human experience.
My mother is 89. I just returned from a visit to celebrate her recent birthday. She lives with my father in South Dakota, the state she was born in. She has lived there all her life. I have moved about, leaving South Dakota and my mother when I was 18, returning a couple of times a year for visits.
When I was a young mother she came to stay with me to help with my babies. We took a few vacations together when my children were young. Mostly our relationship was a distant one. The truth of our realities was kept from one another. I felt as if my mother didn’t want to hear any of the challenges and difficulties I came up against…that she didn’t want to know when I was sad or angry about something. The few times I attempted to engage her in conversation about something that had happened to her when I thought she might need support, I was told, “I don’t want to talk about that!” So I stopped asking.
Now she is in the final chapter of her life. She could live several more years or die tomorrow. I know that is true for me as well, but for her, the odds are she will not live more than a few years. Her memory is failing and she is getting frail. Some days she tells me that she is very tired and “doesn’t want to do this anymore.” There are also times when she engages in a way that makes me think she is enjoying herself. Mostly she is “flat”, going through the motions of her limited life without emotion. I wonder what degree of that “flatness” is the result of the medications her doctors give her.
When she is gone, in truth, not a lot will change in the appearance of my life. The deep connection that exists between my mother and me is in the invisible realms. That is the place where the truths that have never been spoken between us live as well. I’m not sure what to do with this. I feel a regret here but I cannot name it. There are no words.
I started to finish (is that an oxymoron) the page I began yesterday about being at the beach on Friday with my son and his family. I was not inspired to do that. I thought about writing about yesterday. We went to the zoo at Balboa Park in San Diego which was quite lovely…could not have conjured a more beautiful day. I do not have much to say about that right now either…
So, I ask myself, what do you want to write about this morning? Gratitude comes to mind. What am I grateful for this morning? I am grateful for reconnection with my son, and for making a genuine heart connection with my daughter-in-law and her two daughters.
I have not seen my son much since he left home for college at the age of 18. We have lived many miles apart and our lives consumed with major life changes and challenges. It is as if, now, we have settled in some way. Our lives are still full and busy, but the search has ended. We have both found places to call home and partners to share those homes with that feel secure and lasting. We have both surrendered to paths of service that feel right for us. Somehow, in this settling, we are able to meet each other and breathe. There is a softening around our encounter that allows the love we have for each other to surface and the judgments to settle. I am cherishing an experience I have longed for. The timing needed to be right for both of us.
My first born, Brekk was a chosen and cherished baby. I quit work to stay at home and be with him and I was devoted to motherhood. His sister, Genevieve, was born when he was 3 ½. I loved being a mother, at home on the farm, raising my two children alongside a big garden and many animals. For more than a decade, I did nothing but live a “mama earth” lifestyle.
As the kids got older and went to middle school, I went back to work and then began traveling and searching for a life that could fulfill me, the way raising my children had. They no longer required my full attention. They were finding their own paths and I needed to find mine.
Bodywork was the light bulb that lit the way for me to a journey of self-discovery. Upon completion of massage school, I kept traveling and studying. For over ten years I devoted myself to learning about the ways of living organisms, especially humans, and how I could facilitate balance and healing. My yoga practice returned and integrated with the skills I acquired around hands-on healing and energy work.
While this was happening for me, Brekk was at college, working, in the air force and eventually marrying Tonya and becoming “dad” to her two daughters. Our paths did not cross much and the connection that was so strong when he was growing up felt strained.
Last week Brekk and Tonya drove from Texas to California with a stop in Scottsdale where Brekk had a colloquium for his master’s degree in Psych. With daughters Amber and Lauren and new puppy, Romeo, they arrived here at Mountain Valley Retreat and we have enjoyed three wonderful days together.
As Brekk and I sat talking under the full moon in the hot tub last night, I felt for the first time in many years that my son and I are reconnected. The strong bond we had when he was a child is felt again. For this, I am so very grateful.
I woke up with a vision of steps in my mind. They are old wooden steps coming down a vine covered hillside.
I am in Louisiana visiting my daughter. She will be twenty-seven tomorrow. She is my baby. A statuesque beauty with poise, talent, and a huge open heart…she is living proof that my years of struggle in an unfulfilled marriage had a pay-off. She and her brother are it.
The steps in my dream are chunks of railroad tie. They are narrow in width and spaced apart so that the green of the plant-life is around each one. They are not straight but are set into the hillside following its natural contours. Over the hill is the sea.
What does this dream have to do with my daughter? I don’t know. For a moment I forgot that free writes don’t have to make sense and my mind was searching for a connection. Whew…got that one off my back.
I am really heart-happy to be here. I feel like I want to soak her up like a sponge. I have had a visitor in California for the past week. She and I share a mother-daughter-like connection and now being with my own daughter is especially sweet.
When she was little I called her “Cookie” sometimes. I’ll call her that now.
Cookie has an even personality. When all her young friends in Jr. High were into high drama, Cookie was the cool, collected one. When she was eighteen and I told her I was leaving her father she lost her cool. She became uncollected and she released her wildness! She went into such an emotional trauma space, and I was so shocked and awed by it, that I stayed four more years! Cookie has a lot of power.
I don’t think she has even begun to realize her power. Her presence turns heads and I’ll bet she thinks it’s because she is looking good. It’s not about her looks. I see a Lioness when I look at her and I suspect others see it too.
Her own fierceness may frighten her. She may not yet understand how to harness her power and use it for her own good. Innocent power is like the ocean or a wild animal. It is raw and natural. Out of control it follows its own path and like the goddess Kali, may bite off the heads of ignorance that get in its way.
I want to be her gentle guide. I played a part in her domestication and I now want to facilitate her un-domestication. I want her to understand her gift of power and grow into her fierceness. I want her to know that she has nothing to fear. Her wildness is magnificent and is a force for truth. She can let her Lioness out whenever she is ready. The world needs her.