Being someone’s mama

Musings on motherhood popped like spring blossoms last weekend, but my favourite sentence of the ones I read came from Mary Karr: “Despite the lacy, sugar-spun horse hockey around this particular holiday, being somebody’s mama does crowbar your heart open in the deepest way.”

Yes it does.

I don’t think I say much here about being mother or grandmother. I’m not sure why. Certainly my children and their partners and families are a huge part of my life. And isn’t it the duty of grandparents to bore others with tales of their remarkable progeny?

That’s a stereotype, of course, but I’d like to avoid it anyway. I also believe having children/grandchildren is simply one way to contribute, one way to grow up, not an essential element in being human (or woman). Life, after all, has opportunity enough to wrench hearts into joy and challenge. The late Jean Vanier is just one example of that.

But it was Mother’s Day, and long ago three children crowbarred me open, so let me say for the record that they and their partners exist in that deep core where I’m most inarticulate and in awe, most reticent to speak (they’re their own story, after all), where I simply bleat “I love you,” hoping that will cover the worlds they are. They were gifts. Being done with the work they involved is also a gift. The grandchildren are a bonus, flitting about like butterflies in the spaces already cratered to the sun. If there’s work left, it’s the adjustment to receiving more than one gives.

5 thoughts on “Being someone’s mama

  1. I like your statement: “I also believe having children/grandchildren is simply one way to contribute, one way to grow up, not an essential element in being human (or woman).” Just had a conversation about that with our middle daughter, who is here for my brother’s memorial. We had a bit of a generational divide on that topic, and you helped me clarify it. Thanks, Dora

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    • Thanks Elfrieda. I guess I’ve known too many single folks or people without children to believe anything else. But I’ve stated it baldly here; perhaps it can be nuanced?

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