Monday, December 11, 2006

The Feast of the Immaculate Conception was on Friday. This is in celebration of the day Mary got the word that she had been chosen to be the Mother. Since my own mother died 10 years ago, I think about Mary a lot. She was on the one stumbling block of Catholicism that I could never come to terms with; Mary as an icon of adoration made no sense to me until, until, my own mother died. Then I was finally ready to understand. Ah, the epiphanies I experience if I just let myself be open to pain. So I have thought about Mary a lot in the last ten years, talked to her a lot, begged her for mercy on behalf of my children and in general, joined forces with the Sweet Virgin Mary in advocacy of my children and their needs, trials and tribulations. She is my solace, my comfort, my assurance. And, she talks back. She pops into my head and into my heart with her soft voice, mostly telling me not to worry. She knows me. On the other hand, haven't heard a thing from my mother since the day she left, August 1996. I know Mom is in a really good place and is laughing and singing. I know the next time I see her that's how I will find her.

So Mary was chosen to be the Mother. Young girl, old husband. What a mess. I liked the part about her not questioning, at least not in her out loud voice. She was destined to be a mother! Absorbing all the inputs, taking a quick inventory of available resources, then quietly moving into an action plan to care for her family. This is our Girl.

I think somehow on some plain, I was chosen for motherhood, too. It happened to me and was upon me before I literally knew what was afoot; I never questioned it. I never planned it. I never formed selection criteria for the fathers. I moved into it with no misgiving. It was only after my children came through another phase of their maturation that I realized how bad I was at it but amazingly, I was going to get another shot at getting it right. And so they stay right with me today, these exquisite creatures, these children of mine. How did I get so lucky to get them? Why me?

They have shaped my life and made me the person I am. Would I give the time and money that I do to charitable causes if it weren't for my children? I hope so. But I don't know. Through them, I saw and learned about all kinds of other kids and mothers who were working off a different set of inputs and available resources. I knew immediately that I had to be more and give more to everyone if I was going to be the best possible mother for Them, my own children.

I would not have the career I have and the life it brings me if it weren't for my children. I was their sole support when then were just little kids. If they got changed into dry clothes, had a sandwich, were read a story, lived in a house with lights and heat or received affirmation or experienced joy in any given day, it came from me. The responsibility from being the whole universe to my darling children made me who I am today and easily lets me understand that I and I alone am responsible for my own happiness and my own well-being. That understanding has brought me great rewards in business and in life, and if it weren't for being a mother, I might still be trying to figure that one out.

The one thing I learn over and over from being a mother is that it's not about me. It couldn't be less about me than it is. And I am so grateful for that. As my children played on all kinds of teams and became involved in all kinds of activities, I began to see women on similar paths as me, working hard to provide a good life for their families and to understand the best long term goals. It was always fascinating for me to watch and observe the conversations over breakfast, on the sidelines, as the work of a project endured and listen to different mothers who were happy, and unhappy, with the course of their children's lives or their husband's careers or their own marriages. It was the women who were not afraid to let their children fail, let their husband co-parent, it was the women who were completely willing to give themselves up to their family and their marriage and the rollers of joy and pain who were the happiest. And they were not happy at the hand of slavish devotion; they were happy because they were part of a symbiotic experience where the sum of the parts was greater than the whole. Their families were emotionally powerful. They lived in love and not in fear.

So when you are a mother and doing your best work, it's not about you. It's never about you. And then, at some point, it becomes completely about you. Ah, the evolution of adoration.

So I think about Mary; I am deeply grateful to her. I have learned so much. And much of the time now, it's about me. Odd. But I do not deserve any of this credit. The credit goes to my children. They are the ones who chose to persevere; they are the ones who chose to walk through life in a respectful, loving manner. They are the ones who honor me. I just happened to be here because I was chosen, like Mary.

Me, Lord? It's me?

The 'Kan EWA


raymond pert said...

When you hear Mary speak to you, I wonder if it's not your mother, too. It could be that the Divine Mother speaks in harmony with the mothers of this life. I don't mean to muscle in on your meditation. I just like the idea that your mother and Mother Mary are in cahoots in telling you not to worry...and if this wasn't your mother's way on Earth, well, she's under the wing of a really pro now.

I love this post.

raymond pert said...

of a real pro now. Sorry to muck up your comments section...sigh

jb3ll3 said...

My mother is under the wing of a real pro, Raymond. And knowing Mom, she's not paying one bit of attention. But I do think the Divine Mother speaks in harmony with us all. And it's all okay.


green libertarian said...

Young girl, old husband. What a mess.

And there's something wrong with that concept? Not, historically, but forgive my anthropological observations. Forgive the unicorns.

Beautiful writing, Jbelle. Which came first, the chicken or the egg, the mom, or the children? Who shapes whom?

You are very strong, and very lucky, this much is evident in the success and creativity of your children, which you help shape, as they shaped you in return.