On Being a Mother for Twelve Years

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Wyatt's 12 today. Which means I've been a mother for 12 years.

You've heard me say it before--there are lots of ways to be broken open. Motherhood has been mine. To be so humbled, to know so little, to feel the absolutely terrifying dependency of an infant, toddler, preschooler, kindergartner, and now to feel the terrifying independence of a middle schooler, and to be in love the whole time. What really undoes me is to remember that every single person walking around this earth was a baby once, all of us born for love, and some of us not getting the total sense of belovedness that makes us whole.

I love you so much, Wyatt. I wrote this for you a few weeks ago.

Walking into Church

It used to be we'd automatically reach
for each other's hands, crossing intersections,
at the park, in the grocery store.
Sometimes, I might have chafed,
longing for the freedom of movement
I had before motherhood.

Now, we walk a foot apart,
close, but not too close.
You allow me to scratch your back,
give your hair a tousle.
It's not lost on me, feeling
shoulder blades through your tshirt,
wet strands of hair curling
around your ears.

But if I had my way,
I'd reach for your hand.

I'd hold it all the way into church,
all the way through
the inner and outermost chambers
of a life that's going to be
full of goodbyes.