Friday, October 14, 2011
Posted by Maggie May Labels: Babies To Teenagers
All around me there are the endings of life. A small conversation with Lola, in the cup of sun on the patio, explaining the Buddhist story of the tree that loses a leaf, the leaf falls to the base of the tree. Slowly, dirt absorbs the leaf and it's properties until it is 'gone'. The tree absorbs the soil, and so the leaf becomes part of the tree again. It's a simple, simple story that is an enduring comfort for me. I think of it, turn it over in my mind during fear, like a wishing stone. I imagine the unknowing peace of a leaf. The unconscious death and life and death and life. I think of my Grandmother Elizabeth, Ever Elizabeth's namesake, buried ten minutes from here, in a small rolling hill next to trees and a horse farm. All the leaves that fall onto her grave, and my Grandfather next to her. I think of ' energy does not die '. I run my fingers over Mr. Curry's stubble, watch his eyes flicker behind the lashes as he watches T.V. The light from his eyes, where will that be? Ever's tiny body, the ridiculous miniature of the anklet of a ten month old baby. The shooter in the hair salon, eight dead. The sweet eyed Jack of Charlotte's Inch Of Grey blog, drowned weeks ago in the rushing darkness of a storm down the street from his home. Twelve years old. I think of my mom's brother David, my Uncle, drowned in the nearby lake at fourteen years old, long before I had ever been born or imagined. I think of my oldest son, his intelligent, tender and prideful spirit, the incredible plunging into my heart that happened when he was born, the immersion like a baptism, eternal. I pray for him because at seventeen there are not so many object forces and subtle guidances anymore. I pray for myself because I feel so weak inside. So tired. So scared. I feel so inadequate to the job I myself took on! Mothering these four children. I think of ' took the wind out of her sails ' and sigh, a long motherly sigh, deep inside the dark quiet of my slumbering kitchen, where only the cold noses of my dogs rest on my lap or hear me cry. I think of ' warrior spirit ' and ' women who run with the wolves ' and rise in the morning like it is every other morning and not like my heart is trembling in my hands like a rabbit's heart, cut out after the arrow made it's mark. I think of Kate McRae and her mother, always her mother, waiting for the next set of MRI results that will show her the tumor in her daughter's small brain, and how it has or has not grown. I think of the power and assuredness of the parenting of small children. I think of the insecurity and doubt and helplessness of parenting teenagers. I hear Lola saying ' Momma you are the best Momma in the world. There is no one like you in all my friends moms, and I never want you to be like them, or anyone else. You are my strong and loving Momma. You make everything possible. ' And I hear my oldest son telling me these same things, not so many years ago, who is now both strangely closer to me and further away than ever before. I think of Caroline and the depth and spirit and strength I feel whenever she speaks of mothering, and how comforting that is to me. How comforting is real. How comforting is honest life and love from another. How comforting to know we are not alone. I think of the leaves on my Grandmother's grave, the hands of my daughters on my knee at night, the faces of my sons, the spirit of my husband with me in the dark. I think of prayers, of churches at nighttime, of knotholes in trees, of leaves on mountainsides, of the rain, I think of the first time I held my firstborn, and I am weak in the knees and the heart. I think of the first time I held my lastborn, and I am strong. All around me are the beginnings of life.