humility for divinity
and the never enough/too much mommy
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For so long I felt like not enough mommy. Too little of me to spread coating. Everything got only a skim coating, or so it felt. Three little children, a husband often gone, first with the army, then to meet the demands of returning to university. One me, cooking all their meals from scratch. One me, hustling them to where they needed to be and being there when it was me that they needed. One me driving for hours to secure raw milk and real food. One me shuttling them to their sports teams and art camps. Too little mommy for three daughters that needed all I could muster.
Now, I’m here. Too much mommy for two grown daughters. Too much mommy for two. Surplus mommy. Mothballed mommy. Who needs a mommy when you’re grown? Her skills are archaic and her usefulness dwindling. There is love there, of course, but as it should be, it is. As they were raised to be, they are. They are competent and responsible, they are loving and devoted. They make their own rules now, follow the trails that sing out to their hearts. I don’t make their paper bag lunches anymore.
And for the other? The baby of my beautiful ones? She lives in a realm that I know nothing of. She drops me messages sometimes, meets my heart with a momentary spark of love so deep and pure it fills me with tears. I know my love for her still counts, but it cannot fix the unfixable. Cannot fix what is not broken, but cuts with its shards all the same. Here, on this earth, I remain her mother, but I have no evidence of the utility in such a conviction. Does she still need a mother? I don’t think she does. But I don’t know how much that even matters.
Can love transcend who we are here on earth? Can the desire I have, to hug her again, bury my face in her hair and inhale her every atom, come to pass from the mere desire of it? Yes. I know because I do.
I am too much mother. And that which isn’t used is lost.
As I age, I am being stripped bare of my cloaks. I am no longer a soldier. No longer a journalist for a small country newspaper. No longer a bartender or a labourer or a nutritionist. I am not a young daughter in need or a wild teenager moving through life like a pinball, ricocheting without predictability. I am not a young mother trying to get it all right.
All that I came to define myself by is being peeled away. My exposed raw skin burns against the air. I want to cover it back up, but there’s nothing there to use. My archaic tools do not work in this new place. There comes a time, if we live long enough to see it, when the framework around our lives crumbles. What housed a different life, so vibrant and loud and moving, no longer fits. So many people stay there, in those empty rooms, either bumbling around endlessly or trying to insist and control what is no longer ours to control. Either way, they’re in those old houses, alone, left to their own devices and distractions. Wondering where their lives went when they’re living them now.
I understand the impulse. When you lose a child, you are thrown through the windshield of life, from one world into another. Sudden. Instant. No touchstones, nothing recognizable. You stand, bloodied and in shock. It is incomprehensible, simply not possible and yet, here you stand. You have joined a new club. One you don’t want to know and don’t want to be a part of. The best of your lives behind you. Forevermore. That is fact. Now what? How to live in a world that no longer holds out the promise of “the best is yet to come”, but has, in all honesty, forever gone. How then, do you live at all? What propels a human body, what pushes us forward? Nothing.
There’s nothing to ever come in the future that will save us. We have the only thing we have ever had, and that is this time in this very moment. This moment that offers us beauty and story and lessons on the condition that we are here for it with love in our heart. That’s it. That’s the deal. Take it or leave it.
The repeating patterns of nature can be found everywhere. Seasons show us renew and decay. So, too, the soil and the universes within. Animals. Trees. Forests and plains. Respiration. Exhalation. Birth and death. Just like the crumbling systems of commerce and control that have reached their end, we, in one lifetime, die and renew again. In just one physical life, how many times are we born anew, into a new world, and then live through the death of that time only to be asked to participate in yet another iteration that unfolds before us? The birth and death of form. It’s the constant “ask” of our Creator. Evolve. Witness. Participate.
I don’t know the woman that I am being called to be. I’m not supposed to. She will come how she will come. I just see the inches on the path before my feet and I walk. I walk with faith over fear. I walk with humility. I walk knowing that nothing is guaranteed, that there will be missteps and fumbles. I don’t control the outcome, only my reaction to what is. I walk with surrender. “Surrender”, that’s a big word for the times we’re in. Surrender is not passive, like I once thought. It’s a powerful, participatory verb. It calls forth the courage to conquer the ego. To surrender is to face the truth of what is, wholly and without shielding. It is the key to mute ego so that we may hear the Divine. It is connection to Source.
Ohhh, that ego, master and commander of all, or so it thinks. Ego at centre stage, assured of its utility by its sheer force of determination and volume. Meanwhile, humility sits in the corner quietly, patiently offering peace and a deeper love in our lives should we ever choose to take its hand. Humility and surrender do not mean we are neutralized, they are there as guides, helping us to put forth the best of ourselves. They teach us to live in alignment with goodness, striving and working hard in service to the big things and then trusting in the outcome that comes. Ego, in contrast, hones in on that outcome and chases it like a greyhound on a racing track. Blind to the scenery, all other possibilities that pop up along the way, just a blur. Unaware of all the other dogs running beside him that, should he stop, should they stop, they could actually just play together. No, it’s one way, faster, harder, stronger. No room for anything else. All of the mystery, the moments of wonder, the very stuff of living, ignored and unseen. That poor little greyhound; out of his cage, chase the bunny, into his cage. Again and again. Forever chasing what feels good. Never getting anywhere. Recipe for a meaningless life.
The mother that I am now is paired back, rendered and refined. “Love”, I tell myself. I pray to my God, “Let me be the very expression of love.” There are no small, soft bodies against my legs. No hopeful eyes looking up at me, asking for this or that. No chairs pulled up alongside me at the kitchen counter, asking to help. No little teeth marks in my butter. That mommy, like all the iterations of who I have been, sits, collected inside of me. All of them there, all of the Taras, all of the versions of her beloved people, young and old, big and small. They sit together, gathered around a warm, glowing bonfire of memories, grabbing moments from the flames and throwing them into my awareness at random. Gifts of light and warmth suddenly in my consciousness. Ty on my shoulders, picking plums from a tree and dripping the juices in my hair. Ella pretending to be a kitten for weeks at a time and the mommy that would pet her nose while she purred. Tying Mila’s tiny little hockey skates, whispering words of encouragement to my little warrior heading into battle while she giggled in delight. “More, mommy, more.”
You are safe. You are safe. You are safe.
You are loved. You are loved. You are loved.
1 - 2 - 3. Always three.
I am here. Always, I am here. And in here we are all.
Love is here and love is now and love lives on.