Grown don’t mean nothing to a mother. A child is a child. They get
bigger, older, but grown? What’s that suppose to mean? In my heart
it don’t mean a thing. ~Toni Morrison, Beloved, 1987
I love this quote. They must be out there, but I don’t know a single mother who considers age a factor in the art mothering. It’s what gets us in trouble with our kids.
“Mom! I’m an adult! I don’t need your advice, criticism, lecture, opinion, counsel or presence”…….Ahh. Sad is the mother who believes this.
Yes, we need to step aside while they make their own mistakes, sometimes we need to push them into the risky unknown and then hide our angst while they explore it, and we definitely need to get completely out of the way when they tattoo their bodies or pierce their nose for some ungodly reason, or take a same sex, different race, conservative, or liberal, lover. (Or any other element disagreeable to us)
But like Mother Earth, we need to BE there, obvious and evident with our love, our wisdom, & our support. We need to tell them the truth; teach them to both give and receive, and respect. There isn’t much mention of wisdom in our society in the United States. Maybe some adult kids think they can get wisdom on the web, or they don’t know that it comes from living and that we have it and are willing to share or even that they could use some.
I remember after Reagan fired the air traffic controllers, my mother, Alice, was afraid to fly so she took the train from Pennsylvania to California to visit me and my kids-her beloved grandkids. The trip lasted three days; she was in her 70s so I know her back must have ached something terrible as she sat looking out the window at the passing scenery or read a romance novel that transported her back to her youth. I don’t know what she thought about as the Zephyr rolled away from the lush Allegheny Mountains into the mid-west plains, and over the forbidding Rockies. I wish I did but she quit writing a diary after she lost her virginity at age 18.
All I know is what I thought. Even though we had a hard time when we were together-in person-head-to-hard head, my mom and I were in love. I never lost sight that she gave me life; I counted the hours and minutes until her arrival. I made sure Kirk was home, that there was gas in the car to pick her up, that the house was somewhat tidy and that the kids were presentable.
I was 44 when the train pulled into the Martinez station. Just like in the movies, the passengers spilled out of countless doors all at once making it difficult to spot a single person. But, finally I saw her soft gray hair at the top of the steps. As I ran to her I yelled, “Mommy!”