Monday, May 15, 2006


Being a mother. Straightforward. And then not so.

Easy enough to understand when two children, Sunday morning, climb onto our bed, move in close for warmth. Easy to love the smoothness of their skin, their silky hair, their giggles and squeaky morning voices whispering, or yelling, "Happy Mother's Day," and "I love you."

Difficult. Thinking about a friend far away. In Korea. Separated from her children. Not knowing when she'll be close to them. And another friend, mother of two young boys, sick with cancer. Sick to think about the children living full time with the man who has been needlessly trying to gain custody of the children--three wives into it. Thinking about a mother's thoughts as she lies in a hospital bed, dying. The difficult--no--agonizing--aspects of being a mother for these women.

Often it isn't buttercups and happiness and moonshine. There are decisions to be made, hard ones. There is loss. There is the pain of fierce love.

But most of us wouldn't have it differently, the being a mother, being a parent. It balances, challenges, rewards us in ways that we cannot understand, sometimes, but for the feeling of it. The little things, then, beautiful and simple as being surprised by a small plant with pink flowers, a note card with colorful scribbles, a thank you. These gifts after a particularly long weekend of husband away with work, an achy, pregnant back, and rain. These gifts meaningful beyond my limited comprehension of the way things are and the way things should be.

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