Saturday, March 1, 2008


"In the natural order, perhaps solitaries are made by severe mothers." I read this statement scratched in a journal by Thomas Merton, who was working to understand his chosen life as a solitare and contemplative writer.

I was anything but a severe mother. I was, for the most part, a dancing mother. My children were encouraged to play and be amazed at the natural world around them. We were treasure hunters and scroungers of the earth.

I didn't make any solitares, but I made something. Upon reflection, the impact of a mother is impossible to quantify. So I am sitting here wondering what I have done by what I have been.

My first thought is that I've grown up too slowly. The old German phrase my gramma used to say, "Too soon old't, too late schmart." I wish I could have a mulligan for a few, maybe more than a few, things. I would tell JV he has to bring his own quilts down off the roof of the garage after his night of star gazing with 'the boys'. I would make sure I didn't feed R chocolate by the pound when she was heartbroken - what does that teach a girl?! I would go to B's wedding reception even though I had a fever of l05 and was throwing up. Or maybe I wouldn't.

Maybe I would do it all the same. I guess we have to live in the moment, being the person we are. We don't get a script or a screen writer to give us pithy banter and wise solutions. I am thinking that I mostly did well because I lived out of who I truly was ... and the real work I did well was to keep facing my stuff, to keep growing and crying and struggling til I was the kind of person who could make a more mature choice and possibly do better.

So today I have the chance to live any way I feel is right - but really in my heart of hearts? ... I am inclined to plod through my garden in 3 inch mud to check on new buds, struggle across the melting lawn in my heels to fill the feeders for my beloved cardinal and finches, drive all night to see my granddaughter's recitals and then make ice cream sundaes that are pretty much obscene, and stay up drinking wine and watching reruns of 'what not to wear' with my daughter. So maybe maturity hasn't changed me all that much. Good thing I am finished with mothering. I leave that daunting task to my kids - I can be the gramma and just have fun.


Anonymous said...

I think that maturity comes with knowing that you made what were the best decisions at the time, and being at peace with that. And wisdom is knowing that plodding through the garden and building sundaes for the grandkids is exactly what life should be about.


rachel said...

you were a good mom - but your a better friend. :)

Mrs Moose said...

R: "you were a good mom - but your a better friend."

Really. Hm... that's worth pondering.

Anonymous said...

Although you were always in the world's top one and a half percent of great mothers, I see you ongoing still becoming a better and better mother as the years go by. Too bad some of your greatness will be recognized by your children more fully when you are no longer here. M