Sunday, February 20, 2011

Motherhood - Chapter 6 - Distance

I have been thinking about the transitions we go through in life that put more distance between us and our mothers or between us and our children. Some of these transitions are gradual like a child starting school. Some of them are more abrupt like a child moving out of our home or out of our state.

It is a good thing to raise children who are independent and can stand on their own two feet in the world. After all, the time will likely come when they will have to. Ultimately death will be the great divider that will distance us from our children. And as much as we will hate to endure the separation, we will have to prepare ourselves to live without our parents and our children to one day live without us.

Knowing this reality doesn't make taking even the most gradual steps of distance away from out parents or offspring any easier. Even when the "closeness" becomes uncomfortable or even downright painful and the distance is greatly desired, it is still accompanied with mixed feelings and often nostalgia.

The same is often true on the reverse side from a child's perspective. I know each of my moves further from my parents has come with tears even when I was excited about the new adventure upon which I was embarking.  College, law school, marriage -- each step was a step further from my childhood and my life at home with my parents.

And so as I enter my ninth month of pregnancy, I think once more of one of my favorite poems by Carol Lynn Pearson. It reminds me that no matter the distance between a mother and her child, the bonds of mother love can and will always keep us close.

The Ninth Month

Being a duplex
I have been happy, my dear,
To loan you half the house
Rent-free and furnished
As best I could.

You have been a good
Tenant, all in all
Quiet, yet comfortably there
Tapping friendly on the wall.

But I hear
You have outgrown the place
And are packing up to move.
Well, I will miss
The sweet proximity.
But we will keep in touch.
There are bonds, my dear,
That reach beyond a block
Or a mile or a hemisphere
Born of much love and labor.

I approve the move
And gladly turn from landlady
To neighbor.
--Carol Lynn Pearson