A few years ago, on one of my first Mother’s Days as a mother, a really good friend sent me this beautiful piece written by Tara Thayer. I’ve come back to this post over and over again through the years, loving the sweet nuance of her words and the way she seems to perfectly capture this journey of mothering. Each year, as my own girls grow, it takes on a new meaning for me:
i began as the mother of babes.
and i mean that, for i was born then, too.
all of the me that had begun,
the wonderings and wanderings of my first three decades,
melted away in the faces of those new babies
and i was born anew.
i spent the next decade tending.
and tending, i did well. it was my thing, apparently.
i grew into it, and i loved every minute.
you know that to be a gentle lie.
there were quite a few minutes of awful. of anguish, even.
and so much comedy, uncertainty, dishevelment.
some of my babes are almost grown.
do not kid yourself about how quickly that happens.
do not kid yourself and do not miss a second wishing those
wonderfully intense, delicious early years away.
for it happens even as you are watching them.
and as much as you need to lose yourself to care for those newborn babes, those littles-
when they have grown to your size almost-when their feet may be as big!-
it is then that you need to find yourself again.
you need to grow.
for then, as they come upon ten; at twelve maybe…fourteen certainly;
then you must find yourself in order to know how to guide them. you must be the you
that you want to be,
so that the you they are growing up against and alongside, is the you that you want them to know.
for here’s the thing:
in the end,
what you want for them most of all is to leave you.
to leave your house to become who they will be.
and when they are gone
who do you want to be left with?
my wish is that my own answer
is the me that was born out of mothering them.
and the man that’s loved me all along the way.
I spent the weekend with one of my oldest and dearest friends, featured here. There’s something so comforting about being with an old friend who’s walked with you from college kid through your seeking twenties and thirties, as you try on the new skin of wife and mother while reconciling it all with where you’ve been and where you want to go. Life for us both has wandered around, taken us on detours and sometimes thrown up roadblocks, but over midnight drinks or morning coffee, we may as well be 18 again, chatting on a couch in the dorm lounge.
I’m off now to do the final preparations for the Princess and the Pea shoot, taking place tomorrow! Eleven little girls will be stopping by to join us. I can hardly wait!
I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.