This is personal. I should be more inclusive, more open, universal, involving. After all, this is a blog. A conversation with the public. And here I am today unable to see beyond my little world, my mountain, my family. Unable to find words or stories that might incorporate you. Except that I think perhaps you might understand this. In one way or another. Your own way, I shall hope.
So today, I’ll use you as my sounding board. Feel free to bounce back. Sharing thoughts I’m only starting to clarify. Not the most profound perhaps, but stuff that matters most to me.
It’s about mothering.
No surprise that’s on my mind as yesterday was Mother’s Day. A “Hallmark Holiday” my own mother used to call it. But I think this one is more. I think it’s an excuse to remember how important the “job” of mothering is, or at least, can be. A position that lasts “until death do us part” and beyond, for no good mother forgets or lets go of a child lost before her. Likewise does a child of any age not recover from the loss of good mother. An irreplaceable void remains.
Mothering. A position that goes without proper recognition, title or salary, but without which the world would fall apart at the seams.
And then again, I’ve met mothers not worthy of the title. But I’m not going there today.
Mothering has meant the world to me. To be a mother. Nothing has formed me, transformed me, more. And then last year when I first lost the daily point and purpose, the focus, title and self definition, when my son went off to college, I was lost. But I learned that a grown son is still a son, and a mother (a good one) will always be there with love, concern, support, care. To nurture by nature. Relationships, like everything else in life, change. You figure it out if you try.
And ours has changed. At 45, I am not the nurturing fresh young mother with filling breasts at the sound of a baby’s cry (perhaps an image only a nursing mother can relate to). I am closer to the age of a grandmother. I am somewhere in between. I am enjoying the adult son. Our team has easily evolved into the new classification of three adults in one home. I’ve tried to treat him as such for a few years now, awaiting his maturity to fill the position, balanced with my poking and prodding (I prefer to call it “encouragement”). Now I try to reduce the latter. I have to learn. It is hard. I worry. I get protective. And still, I must step back and allow. That’s the big part of parenting that’s not so easy, but so very, very important. Finding the balance between holding back (holding one’s tongue!) and encouragement, compliment, and support of one another as any positive adult relationship should. Helping each other be the best we each can be.
Has it been hard to watch him grow and go? No! Nothing could please me more, for I take such pride in his success. I am not sure how to describe this. It is not a personal pride of, “Oh look at how well he’s doing. Dang, I must have done a great job as a mother!” No. It’s so different. Rather it is quiet as I step back and observe, and swell with such incomparable adoration of watching the one you love more than your life learn to make the most of his own.
And where does that leave me as a mother of a grown son? Learning to redefine myself. Am I no longer a mother? Perhaps not in the day to day, the chores and duties, the ball and chain and lack of sleep and abundant lectures. Then what? I am not sure yet. It is changing as I write, with he nearby, writing on his own, no longer needing my prodding, direction, encouragement… Not needing? Perhaps learning himself to do without.
This one is deep. I could ramble on forever as I figure this out. It is fascinating to me. But by the time I figure it out, chances are, the relationship, the players, will be changing once again. And yes, once again, I do have work to do, duties besides mothering (or just thinking about it) are calling… so…
So this one is personal. Please allow this of me. I always wish to try to include you, my reader, but perhaps this one just is about me and mine. And then again, perhaps it is more than that. For perhaps you too know what it is like for a relationship to evolve, revolve, turn about, and end up exactly where it should be, which isn’t always where we expect it to be, but hopefully is someplace even better…