The Stillness of Motherhood

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kids on sleds.jpg
A winter's walk to the slough

The picture above shows a cold, snowy day in complete contrast to the 110 degree humid heat index we're experiencing in SE Minnesota. Next to me, asleep, is my little son with a 102 degree temp- that's after the tylenol and motrin. He and his brother were visiting their aunt and grandma near Rochester when his Fever Syndrome struck. I left work in St. Paul and we're now in a hotel off Hwy 14 so he can rest comfortably.

There is a stillness that comes from being a mother. Being tethered to a place. Right now my place is with my son- not more than a few feet away at any moment. The throw-up bucket at my knee- just in case. As women, we are tethered to a place with our children. There is only so far that one can travel with babes on your hips. In the picture above, I had to pull my kids in the sled back and forth to the pond. It seems so far away when you are trudging through deep snow pulling 2-3 children behind you.

As my babes get older- the steps that we take together are expanding. The wetland is closer- amazingly closer if you don't have to pull or carry anyone there and back. The old farmstead down the road is now within the scope of our world- "let's go play in the that old grain bin!" The world is expanding as my kids get older. I can see now that is the natural order of things.

It is why men were hunters and women were gathers. Gathers that got to know the place where they and their children held the ground. It's why women invented farming-- women with young children no doubt.

And yet- I read a quote the other day that "Stillness does not impress or frighten others in the rat fight for a good spot at the feeder." Being a mother requires that we find ourselves completely still at times.

I left the house for an early morning walk over the weekend. I was about a mile from home when I heard a calf "bawling" in the pasture. It didn't sound right. I stopped. Then I heard across the bean field "Mommmmm! Mommmmm!" It wasn't a calf- it was my early riser. "I'm coming" I yelled, turning back towards home. There- about a 1/4 mile down the driveway in the pre-dawn light was my little boy in a giant red robe. Tears on his face. "You kept going when I yelled mom." "I thought it was a calf dear." And we walk back home hand in hand.

Yes- my world is getting bigger as they grow. And yet- that tether calls me right back to their sides and to the quiet stillness of being a mother.

9 Comments

So true. When we become mothers we lose the haphazard freedom we once enjoyed. In exchange for this loss we are offered strength. The strength to endure worry and pain, and the strength to endure unimaginable bliss. It is like iron, and we become anchors. We hold our children secure against the storms, turning the churning waters into quiet stillness.

Jo- beautiful!

I don't have words right now, but your post hit me in the heart. Its so very true...I'm having a difficult time with "letting go" of my son at the moment, hes going off to public school for 1st grade, when for these past few years he's been with my sister, someone I know who loves him dearly. And it scares me to go underthe watchful eye of someone who doesn't love him like her, or me. But our world is getting bigger, but yes he is still tethered to me, I just need to loose that rope a bit.

What a moving essay! Thank you so much.

Not a mother myself, I recently visited some young friends with a new baby and got a taste of this stillness by just being able to hold the baby for awhile. What a mystery it is, Motherhood and the lack of Motherhood, the stillness and the going.

I hope your son is healthy again!

stillness isn't always part of a Mother's day but when it is....what a beautiful, lasting impression it makes.

Kathy- hard to believe they are going into 1st grade! I think that if we don't losen the tether- they do it for us.

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This page contains a single entry by Kathryn Draeger published on July 14, 2010 10:07 PM.

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