For months, I have been planning to start blogging. But it has been very hard to jump out there and post. Every few days, I think about starting, but my fear of being so exposed has kept me from posting anything. And also, there’s the question of what to write about. I told myself the blog should be about art or the creative process or something very official like Technique!! I have made this so difficult and scary that I have not been able to make myself dive in.
I realized over the last weeks that I have something I want and need to write about, and it does not fit into my prescribed categories. It’s about my life and motherhood. Maybe that’s a good place to start. It certainly feels like an authentic beginning point.
I had the best Mother’s Day in several years this May. I was with my son, Ryan, for breakfast. Since he went away to college in Virginia four years ago, it has not been possible to be together on Mother’s Day, and our breakfast was the culmination of an incredible weekend. Topping it off, he gave me a sweet gift that included seeds to plant in my garden and a book about art that made me feel understood and visible. The kid ‘gets’ me. I looked at him as much as possible, knowing I would have to leave in a few hours, and I would not be able to look at that face I love for many months. It was a lovely morning.
Two days before, I had sat in an audience – or I should say I floated above my seat in an audience – as I watched my son cross a stage to receive his BFA in Dance. He graduated with honors, and his name was all over the program listing his awards and accolades. I have never been so proud or so grateful. There was my son, who I happen to think is the most amazing person in the world, and it turns out other people think he’s special, too. That feels so good.
Looking around the auditorium, so many families were there to celebrate their sons and daughters. All of them made sacrifices so that their children could go to college. I wondered how many of those students were the first in their families to graduate. It was a powerful thing to watch. I realized as I watched these beloved ones receive their diplomas that they were really carrying us with them as they crossed that stage. Our hopes and dreams and sacrifices for them are now a part of their story just as they have been a part of our stories through their childhoods. It made me think of one of my favorite poems by e.e. cummings. I know it’s meant to be a love poem, but I think as a mom, it applies so well to my feelings toward my child.
i carry your heart with me (i carry it in my heart)
i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)
no fate(for you are my fate, my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)
As a parent, I have carried my son’s heart in my heart. It is the ‘root of the root and the bud of the bud’. It has been the biggest truth of my identity all of my adult life. I have hoped with him, dreamed with him, laughed and cried with him. Protected him, failed him at times. His pain hurts me. His joy lifts me up. As I watched my son cross the stage to graduate and step into his adult life, I realized my heart and the hearts of our family and previous generations are now tucked into his own to be carried with him, too. I don’t know if he truly feels the weight of that yet. The tether that was always there, even after the umbilical cord was cut is now stretched thousands of miles. It’s like a fine gossamer thread, but still, our connection endures. He is fulfilling dreams we have for him. His graduation was symbolic of all of the sacrifices his grandparents and great- grandparents made to give our generations so much abundance. I felt very humbled as I celebrated with my son.
My role is changing again, and I feel the void of my empty nest. I am sad to see the end of my job as a parent of a young son, but there is joy in the sadness. No, he won’t be moving back to Denver right now or moving back into his room (which would not really be a good thing, right? Reality check, people!) Once I finish grieving about the end of my son’s childhood, I will take comfort in letting my heart be carried in his heart. And he has become such a terrific man. I can certainly take comfort in that as well.
As I watch my son pursue his dreams of a career as a professional dancer, I am so very thankful for all of his opportunities and accomplishments. I’m beyond proud of him. I am overjoyed that he is bravely going for what he loves. How awesome it that!!?? Most of all, I’m grateful to be his mother.