When love takes you by the hand and asks you what you are afraid of… how quickly do you answer? And do you trust the answer that slips from your lips the fastest or is it the truth lingering in the back of your throat? Is the truth found in unbroken eye contact or is that just your resolve never to flinch?
But what if love says to you, after you answer, “that’s an old story and it’s time to let it go.”
What then? Do you inhale the beauty of being excused from the stale ass tale of woe and exhale the recognition of just how many things you’re NOT afraid of. Watch them fill a space you swear didn’t exist a moment ago?
Being a mother is that question being asked of you over and over. Over and over and over.
Every Mother’s Day since my grandmother passed I wonder if she would be proud of me. I miss her bunches. I still think I’m supposed to program her home phone into every new cell I get. It’s my first instinct. I wonder if the mother I am would make sense to her. I wonder if she would see something of herself in the tiny triangular family that I am the head of. I’m like and unlike her in the same ways we are all like and unlike our mothers. I’m a giver but not a martyr. I’m a provider and yet not a score keeper. I am grateful for the deep down joy I feel when I’m able to give to others. I’m grateful for being resourceful and practical. These are my natural tendencies and I feel relief when nothing gets in the way of them.
What I inherited from my grandmother is a healthy disdain for selfishness. And maybe a not so healthy disdain for weakness. I often joke with my friends that I hate people. It’s a joke because I so clearly love people. What I really hate is myopic selfishness. I associate selfishness with weakness. I associate giving with strength. If I am able to give that means my shit is in order. I am in a place of stability if I am able to extend a hand to someone else. My horse stance is strong.
And that’s what I hope my grandmother would see in my mothering. My horse stance. I know my kids wish they had a mom who preferred opera to hip hop, who felt at peace with the world instead of rallying against so many injustices. I know they want simple, instead they’ve got complicated making them dinner every night.
That is the mother I am and it’s because of the mother my grandmother was to me.