Posted in Insight, Mid-Life Mama, Round Two, Teens, Twenty-something, What's Next? (18 & beyond)

taking credit

Sometimes when my sons share all the things that interest them and all the things they want to do with their lives, I think to myself:

Damn, my breastmilk was good.

 

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Posted in Mother to Crone, Twenty-something

Winter Break Reflections

(December 27, 2017)

With our oldest, 22, home for the long break (for the first time in years), the house is once again, and even more fully, tipped toward youth, toward late nights of conversation, music-making, meal-making, movie streaming, not to mention heavy footsteps up and down the stairs outside my bedroom door (my bed vibrating like a drum) and something else–door latches (like gunshot) ever so charming when we first built the house and little hands had no need of closed doors.

Thus despite the luxury of vacation, I am walking around with deepening circles under my eyes, not only from riding youth’s current well past my bedtime, and from the gap between my sleep and theirs, but also from waking in the middle of the night–to silence–to a house full of breathing bodies–who once shared the same bed–and then waking again, long before dawn, for no reason at all, unable to do anything but rise in the dark, seeking light.

Sleep deprivation is my Achilles heel.
My glass half-empty.

Trees laden with ice are transformed from beauties to omens, particularly if my sons are on the road; while the harsh, dry cold, echoes in my aging bones, and the sunless days accentuate my fear of all the ways the world is ending.

I am newly menopausal. Does that explain the fear and the ugliness creeping in–a kind I haven’t felt since I lost the babies and looked upon pregnant women in the same way—resenting them like I find myself resenting youth–for all the ways life seems infinitely stretched ahead of them–while mine is doomed to end–and something else–my house now full, in another week, will empty, eventually completely, and don’t I resent that too–the way I gave so much–my entire body, my career, all sense of a separate self–only to be abandoned, even while the work I do in the world necessitates more and more of just that.

Which is to say that after a dozen days, I’ve adapted! Last night, I didn’t wake at all, and not only that, when I did wake, the jeweled promise of a new day was pulsing through the trees.

Exhale.

Let them have their youth, sleeping away perfectly bright mornings, and let them have their long lives ahead of them, so full of that which I couldn’t bear to hold again; while I have the ripening pleasure of turning toward the simplicity of getting to know—just me–again.

Exhale.

“I think I might be dead soon,” I said, as my sons tucked me into bed last night.

“WHY?” they asked in unison, surprisingly alarmed at the passing of one who seems so irrelevant to them except as an institution of familiarity and return. (I am jealous as a mother in ways I never recall as a girlfriend.)

“Because look around,” I said, pointing to my baby blankets in the tiny rocking chair that belonged to me as a girl, and then to the rug and the comforter and the curtains and my favorite sweater. “Everything around me has begun to match the blankets into which I was born.”

They smile, simultaneously. “You’re not dying,” the oldest said.

“You’re being born again,” said the youngest, “As a crone.”

I smile then too, recalling the framed print of a raven that he placed under the tree.

“It’s the symbol of the Crone!” he said, “I researched it.”

His older brother presented me with a pair of regal earrings in silver and amethyst and moonstone. He leaves in a week for Istanbul. Toward a new love.

And now I recall another surprising ugliness I felt, toward him, when he first returned home from college a handful of years ago. I hadn’t known I felt it until my therapist pointed it out. I hadn’t believed it at first, couldn’t imagine it possible, especially since I had given my life to provide that which was lost to me, and especially how astoundingly grateful I was that he could spread his wings with the promise of a home upon which he could return.

But there it was. I resented my own child for having that which I gave him because I hadn’t had it myself.

“It is my firm conviction that human nature is essentially compassionate and gentle,” writes the Dalai Lama. “Anger, violence, and aggression may arise, but on a secondary or more superficial level; in a sense, they arise when we are frustrated in our efforts to achieve love and affection.”

I withhold love in fear of losing it and I create barriers against love to protect myself from the inevitable loss of everything I hold dear, including the precious gift of my own life.

So there you have it. This is what a full night sleep brings. Take it or leave it.

Posted in College, Mother to Crone, Twenty-something, What's Next? (18 & beyond)

a mother’s resolution

Saying goodbye again, K. Salasin, 2018

I’m not sure if it’s the hormones or the daily meditation practice or the surrender that comes with radical aging, but apparently, I’ve been assigned this New Year’s Resolution:

“Weep without restraint.”

I once went 4 years without a single tear–all the way through adolescence; and as a mother, my boys could count the times they saw me cry.

On this wintry day, I wake as I often do–migraine-y; only at 14 below, the pain doesn’t ease with rising & hydrating & showering.

Additionally, the departure of my first born is imminent. He only lives a few hours away this year (unlike the semester in Central America or the one across Europe or the season at the shore), but he is returning to school via Istanbul–to meet her family.

And more than that, and we shouldn’t have done it, but we’ve grown attached to him again, which is to say he arrived the week before Solstice and has been here ever since, all the way through to the Epiphany, so unlike previous years, when he was barely home at all for the holidays, let alone for more than a weekend in any season.

While he scurried around the house packing up, I felt my resistance shape like a barge inside me, and so I threw myself into cooking, just in case he was still around for lunch (and just so I wouldn’t flutter around him or re-arrange his room or decide we needed to relocate.)

Not only homemade spaghetti sauce (with Italian opera playing in the background) but a deep dish turkey pot pie, all served in my grandmother’s china.

He looks like his grandmother. He is dark-skinned like her. Wise. (Once at the height of summer, I cooked my mother’s Turkey soup to bear the ache of missing her.)

I dropped three different lids today while I prepared the feast that no one planned to eat, and he tripped up two sets of stairs while packing, and his younger brother dropped an entire tray of silverware on the dishwasher rack, (cracking a piece of my grandmother’s china) while their father had to be sent to his room to meditate for fear he would implode with his silent suffering.

They just left for the airport. All three of my men. Well, sort of. There are a few last minute stops and an overnight at a friend’s place outside of Boston for the one who is flying.

Tomorrow, my husband and our 17-year-old–will return to the high school; and then this house on this hill in the middle of the woods will be all mine again.

No doubt, I will do what I did when our son first went off to college: step into his room and steep in the absence of him, confounded by the depth and breadth of motherhood within the constant tugging of selfhood (or is self now occupied within mother?)

“Your life has blessed mine,” I told him as we embraced in the kitchen after he washed the lunch pots.

I kissed this bristly man, my baby, on both cheeks, and even on his forehead, suddenly communing with the 4 year-old boy whose self was so intertwined with mine, instead of this 22 year-old man whose life continues to twine elsewhere, across oceans and continents, as if we hadn’t shared the same body and breath.

I am learning what it is to love. It is a wave. A tide. A flood. A desert.An oasis. A fresh, pulsing spring.

At best, I am reed like. Moving toward and away. Loving myself and this vacancy even as I weep, especially as I weep, keeping my soul moist, my heart resilient, and my life ready to expand or contract at any moment.

Posted in Insight, Mid-Life Mama, Mother to Crone, Twenty-something

Companion

Lately, my sons have refused invitations or eagerly accepted them but then not followed through, while simultaneously (along with their father) they make increasingly unconscious demands on my time and energy; so that yesterday, I found myself walking to the pond, feeling sorry for myself, absent of the sweet company I so desired/deserved; and these thoughts continued with me down the road, across the brook, up the hill and down the path through the woods to the water’s grassy edge, where they slipped away with asana under the morning sun, until I found myself supine on the dock in a gentle spinal twist, looking up at the needles of a tall pine with whom I’ve communed for so many years–through so many seasons of my life–and hers–ice storms and snow storms and early springs and fair autumns (skipping high summer when the campers are here)–And in that moment I felt the steady friendship of her branches extended toward me and the strength of her deep roots sustaining our connection, and I realized how I would never be alone, not really, even when both boys are gone; and I thought about how often men forsake not only the women in their lives, but the earth, and how that brings women and the earth closer together, and aren’t we better for it; and then, something else:

Don’t I forsake Her too…

Posted in Fragile Life, Milestone Moments, Twenty-something

August 1st

to be embodied. together. in the water. in the sun. in the shade. on a blanket. their skin. his chestnut eyes. his ocean blues. my babies grown. their parents greyed. this family. once forever. now moments. like this. as deep as all of us in the same bed. didn’t he twirl my hair as we nursed in the blue chair. didn’t he cry to sleep in the stars & moon sling against his father’s chest. i must take a photo! but no. i can’t bear to capture that which is only now. this breath. my head. his chest.