Monday, May 9, 2011

Motherless and Child

Yesterday we celebrated and honored the "mothers" in our lives.  Around these parts, it is a bittersweet day as it is tied to grief, loss, and abandonment.

My son, whom we adopted at 2-1/2 years old, has both a mother (me) and is motherless (birth mother).  I can't help but think that for all the love and adoration he gave me today, there is not a moment of imagining the woman who gave him life and who he left 11 months later.

Mothering this boy is complicated.  Alongside revering the mother who gives him his daily does of love, but he also lives with the loss of the mythic mother whose body he shared.  The warm and fuzzy bonds of mother-child intimacy never established and always the elephant in the room.

However, he is not the only one who lives with loss.  I had a mother - she is gone.  I carried a child - she is gone too.  Both have embodied me and me with them.

All the women in my family have a short shelf life.  Men have been left motherless and women have left these men due to the ravages of disease.  I can't see how Mother's Day can be anything but morose at best.

I think about this cycle of loss-grief-mother-child as I am also grieving the son I had and facing the teenager he has become.  It feels like a second losing of a child.  First the one that was in my body and now the one that come into my life when that ship sailed.

 (Thank you Bill Viola)

Watching this child shift from child to teenager is like traveling on the overland routes of the Silk Road.  Extending 4,000 miles, the routes enabled people to transport goods, luxuries such as silk, satin, hemp and other fine fabrics, musk, other perfumes, spices, medicines, jewels, glassware and even rhubarb, as well as serving as a conduit for the spread of knowledge, ideas, and cultures, between Ancient China, Ancient India (Indus valley, now Pakistan), Asia Minor and the Mediterranean. 

While there are spices, jewels and other goods to be found on the journey.  The road to get there can be rough.