When I was a girl, my mother had a crafting business. She made pillows and wall hangings, stenciled with flower designs that she drew and cut herself. On painting days, when she brushed pigments though the layered barriers, I would be shooed out of her work space because of the fumes from the permanent inks. I suspect, now, she also liked having an excuse to work quietly and rhythmically, uninterrupted.
Painted fabric was sewn into pillows; pillows were packed into boxes; boxes were carried off by the big brown truck, or packed into our cream-colored Toyota pickup and hauled to craft fairs, where I helped my mother, and ran my own side business as a booth-sitter for other vendors. Those big brown trucks came back down our dirt driveway, delivering new materials, and the cycle began again.
My mother was a maker, before being a maker was a thing. Before Etsy, before Pinterest. My mother was a maker of crafts, a maker of money, a maker of her own time, and a maker of lessons for me. My mother was a maker in the primordial way that all mothers are makers, that we cannot help but be.
Making decisions, making coffee, making due, making sense, making phone calls, making breakfast, making play dates, making friends, making beds, making lists, making lunch, making rules, making it on time, making it work, making a mess, making up, making love, making memories, making dinner, making conversation, making, making, making all the time.
I have a busy mind…and it constantly diverts me from authentic creation. From my inevitable, generative way of being that will occur with or without any intervention on the part of my plans. It’s a hard tension to strum – the resonant echo between who I imagine I am and the life I live – and yet I can’t keep my fingers off the strings. There is a tendency among new mothers – of which am most certainly one – to touch, and tune, and check, and listen, and try it all again – not for the song itself, but for the hope of applause.
This is a tiring performance. A tiring negotiation between the world and my being. But eventually and always, I am drawn back into the certain knowledge that I belong to a larger creative energy that I can rest in, and be guided by. That even in this cold spring, our Mother’s bounty provides. I cannot help but be confronted by the gentle, relentless reminder of an engorged Earth leaking blossoms, and the ceaseless power of a force that will make the world new and fresh, not out of duty, but out of an unimpossibilty of doing otherwise. I can’t avoid noticing, anymore, that the grackles are eating the blossoms on the trees outside my bathroom and kitchen windows, at the same time they do every spring.
When a woman creates life, and becomes a mother, her form changes. She is encircled into the timeless rhythm of holding a larger world as the play-space of creation and destruction. She becomes tasked with the joyful and solemn work of abiding the growth of her beloved. It is not a choice. It is a way of being. A force we are deeply imbibed with before we understand what’s even happened.
And so having woken up to find myself inside motherhood, I am learning to look to our Great Mother for guidance on how to be a mother myself. How to find the truths in Her patient, rhythmic ways and allow that energy to live through me.
There is no denying the tenacity of the spring frogs in the icy water, or the bounding growth of the hostas and the peonies and the beautiful, strange red-budded grass that has erupted since I mowed the lawn. I am reminded every day at 4 am that territorial disputes can be mitigated – simply by singing in the dark; it is a most peaceful way to let a stranger know you are there. The ceaseless mint and the poison ivy race each other into the space above the ground – they are enacting the same lives, driven by the same forces, it is just my preferences that separate them, in the end.
This predictable renewal, this equanimity towards, and of the cherishing of, all life – it is the deepest comfort I know, and to receive it as a child of our Mother is a blessing and an honor. May I never forget the privilege of being welcomed into this sacred circle, and always seek to offer those teachings back into my own humble sphere. Blessing for The Mother. Blessings for all Mothers. May it be so.