Monday, August 25, 2008

are you my mother?

It seems that all of my life I have been hunting for mothers. Every path of my life is littered with them, so they are not hard for me to recognize. They are women whose presence I crave, whose time I savor, and whose attention I bask in. But sometimes I wonder why God gives them to me, if they cannot be my mothers.

They have qualities in common. They are kind and caring, gentle and intuitive. Sometimes they are older than I am. They sense a need in me, and they respond. They are usually mothers themselves, good mothers to their children, happy mothers, happy to be mothers. And happily married. They're doing what they were meant to do, including influencing me, and they are glad to do it, because they do not need what I need. Except that my insecurities cannot completely accept what they want to offer. As desperately as I want it, I am afraid. Why? Because I want more than what they can give me? Because I am afraid of feeling unsatisfied, left alone, wanting more than what I wanted in the first place, and frustrated as a result?

I said it to one of them. I told her I wished I could go back, start over and be born to her, because she would be the kind of mother I would want, because she would be wise and loving and would have so much to give. She took it as flattery, smiled at me in that indulgent way, but I could tell she did not understand. How could she?

I have imagined lying in their laps, feeling small and fragile like a child, listening to the soothing sound of their voices, telling me stories, singing me songs, and me feeling safe and secure and just knowing, because there would be no reason to think otherwise, that I would be taken care of, that my needs would be met. I have wondered what it would be like to be held by someone like that—someone who is stronger and wiser, confident and unafraid—someone who knows how to love and how to give because they have the ability to trust.

Maybe that's why deep down I am afraid to introduce children to the world. I wonder if I am able to give them what they need to survive, or if I'll end up like Julianne Moore's character in The Hours, who loves her children but abandons them anyway, knowing that she will harm them no matter what she does, escaping because staying is death to her and leaving is life. I'm sure no mother expects to do that to her child. And yet, it happens.


  1. do you have one now?

    (what a greaT movie)

  2. I love this blog...I can't help but visualize F in all those positions, laying in her lap, her soothing voice comforting. Have you heard more from her?

  3. I have lamented some of these same thoughts. I once told my therapist years ago, "I never had chilren because I did not want them to have the pain through which I have had to go. Children should never have to survive childhood."

    It is tough being a child, even a grown up child, and needing and wanting things from those meant to nurture, care for and protect us, who can never give us that for which we seek.

    Perhaps the secret becomes providing for ourselves that which they cannot. That usualy comes after a lifetime of healing.


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