I am a daughter. I am a mother. I am a grandmother. Soon I will be a great-grandmother. My four daughters are currently immersed in the swirl of active child raising. I, on the other hand, now have a walk-on part instead of a lead role on the motherhood stage.
My mother lived until she was 90. In her later years she loved receiving photos and became animated when hearing revues of the antics of the children and grandchildren of the seven boys and four girls she birthed and raised.
Mother is a generic name. Yell the word Mom into a crowd and it has the same effect as a hunting dog-whistle. All mothers are attuned to that cry.
Motherhood is a secret society. No matter how much information about the experience of giving birth you gather, it is an intimately personal experience tailored specifically to you and your baby. Each delivery is different.
Babies arrive with their own personalities fully formed. The task of mothering is to coax them into participating while keeping them safe, so that curiosity and love of learning is nurtured and encouraged. At the same time, mothering is an all-important leadership position that requires us to hold on to the directional reins so that our children understand that the world is meant to be interactive and collaborative rather than only here to serve them.
Children grow us just as much as we grow them. They are not empty vessels that need to be filled. They are a bright light that hopefully will be guided and protected, not neglected but encouraged.
No other person will ever be as much a part of you. They start out tucked securely under the canopy of your heart and attuned to its beat. Though they leave the womb, it is always their first home.
One of the most satisfying experiences for me was when I would tiptoe into my children’s rooms at night and see them snuggled under their covers, fast asleep. The house would be quiet and still and I could exhale, knowing that they were all safe for the moment.
Mothering is all consuming. You carry impossible expectations that you can never actualize. You are the safe harbor that they tentatively leave one minute and then come rushing back to the next.
It is assumed that you are all seeing and all-knowing and always focused on the wants and needs of your family. For years, a trip to the bathroom without a little person banging on the door or yelling your name from another room takes on the proportions of a luxury vacation.
Mothering is the most important and life-changing commitment you will ever fulfill. It can only be done wholeheartedly and once you enter into this commitment it will take you, lead you, push you, and drag you if necessary head first into the unknown.
Here is the paradox. The job description will end. The soul connection with your children never ends.
You can quit a job, abandon a career, end a friendship, finish a project but mothering is the never-ending story that is filled to overflowing with what is most precious and perilous about this experience called life.
Susan is the author of “Beyond Intellect: Journey into the Wisdom of Your Intuitive Mind.” Reach her at: susanvelasquez.com