Mother’s Day May 12, 2019
I am 64 years old. It is feasible to think that over these years I have made or bought some 60 Mother’s day cards. This is the first year I did not. My mama passed this year and with her my last, first home.
Mother. Home. The word mother is overflowing with the essence, the very core of home. Mother’s womb, Mother tongue, Mother Earth, the Mother Ship—all as reference points. Here I am always welcome; here I am understood; here is my touch star; here is where I come from. Here is home.
As an adolescent I, as all adolescents, couldn’t wait to get away from home. Then in my twenties and thirties, I couldn’t wait to come back for a home cooked meal, to let my guard down. I couldn’t wait to be met at the door by my parents eager to wrap me in their arms and heap on me all the attention I could hold.
When my father passed, I realized just how much he too ‘mothered’ me. Rubbing Vick’s Vapo Rub on my back and sweeping me in his arms, telling me I was beautiful and strong; how proud he was, in between his worried look that someone was not mothering me while I was out of his sight. Who was changing the oil in my car? But the home In Jersey I grew up in was still there with my mother in place so the illusion held for a while longer.
When we sold that house and moved mom, it was another passing for me and my siblings. But mama was still mama, still firm as beacon even though the place of residence had moved. There were visits to that home and meals still eaten together and offers of pocket money. How does a child answer the perennial parent question—are you ok? Do you need anything? Even if they could not exactly provide what might be needed the offer was balm. The knowledge that someone, in that certain place called home, looked out for you; that home was always there no matter what chaos might be occurring.
Mother and Home. As I sit in a temporary apartment, in a new city looking again for home I am keenly aware that truly I am my own beacon; there is no other light out there pulsing specifically for me. ‘Home is where the heart is’ the saying goes. But now this brings ache not solace. My heart is broken and so pieces of me are strewn across the landscape. Where is home?
Of course there are many levels to this question. I yearn for an actual home, roots. To be rooted in place and community, to be part of some whole. But I know, home truly is where the heart is, and the great heart is within one’s own being. One day, with practice, that knowing becomes so full, that it spills out onto everything, and spontaneously home is wherever the gaze falls. I am grateful for this understanding and the path that permits me to go home. There is great comfort here. I shudder to think how I would be if not for my practice.
Still, I ache for home. I will remember my mama with stories shared with my siblings. I will send flowers to my mother-in-law. I will honor Mother Earth with a silent ceremony taking in her riches. I will continue to search on Redfin and Zillow for home and hope that it shows itself soon. I am not a mother, but I have mothered, and I will continue to offer my services and be ‘as mother’ where I am able to any child of the earth in need. And I will close my eyes, take a few tremulous breaths, settle and go home. Little by little I bring the sweetness of home up to the surface and the world is transformed.
This picture is of my mother, Carmella, Millie, gazing up at my Aunt Emma. I never met my aunt but am told I am just like her. I love looking at this picture and thinking about that.
See you in my dreams mama.