• Joy

Mother's Day Sucks / Long Live Mother's Day



The morning my daughter was born, I sat in the hospital, while Joe ran to the deli for bagels, clutching this tiny person in my arms — the force of her spirit so strong, immediately such a presence — and faced a searing loneliness. My shaking self knew only one thing for sure: I don’t know how to do this.

A few weeks earlier, I had a dream where I was holding a skinny baby who would not stop crying. Everyone was telling me what to do but it kept making it worse. I was overwhelmed trying to take care of her, and as the room got noisier I began to feel frantic and helpless. Then the baby looked up into my eyes and said, take me to the other room. I was really freaked out that this fragile baby suddenly spoke to me with all the presence of a grown adult, but I did as she said. In the quiet of this new room, she patiently walked me through all the steps of taking care of her and we settled into peaceful rhythm.

This message has always seemed clear, because, motherhood, for me, has been about fully entering this new room where I can hear my children telling me what they really need. But I thought about this dream again yesterday, in a new context, suddenly identifying very much with that skinny baby in the dream. When Ruby burst on the scene, I was born into this new identity of motherhood — a skinny little panicked thing who could not stop crying. No idea what to do.

Yes, you do. This dream tells me now. Of course you do.

Motherhood, for me, has been an invitation to shut out the noise, to let go of so many ideas and expectations so I can hold on to what really matters, to confront my deepest issues, to listen, to show up for myself so I can show up for the kids. To fully inhabit that quiet room, and expand it into my whole home.

One thing I’ve learned about myself, entering midlife, is that relationships are my passion. Motherhood, Marriage, Friendship, Community. I spend most of my time and soul energy feeling called to this work. Showing up. Apologizing. Repairing and beginning again. Listening. Learning. Becoming.

Mother’s Day will always feel a little bit shitty for me. It hits the raw nerve of what I have worked for and wanted my whole life — a connection I have never been able to hold in my hands. Thankfully, I have been practicing holding many emotions at once, so I know it can be shitty and miserable and hopeful and lovely at the same time.

Today, I honor my mother by letting go of her so I can become the mother and woman I want to be. I honor all the people, particularly women, who are helping me learn to become fully human. I honor the complicated, difficult journey of that skinny soul baby LEARNING to BE. I celebrate learning to listen and trust my deepest, truest voice inside.

Of course you know what to do.

And I celebrate this role of a lifetime that is teaching me how to step into everything I ever wanted to be.

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