Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day/ Mother's Years

I'm sitting here in the library with my twenty-five year old son who is watching the Lakers/Jazz playoffs on the TV. It is something he would do with his father who is a great basketball fan. My daughter was watching it, too when she was here half an hour ago. This is not something I would choose to do in my spare time but it is something I've grown to love and accept - that my children are quite separate and still quite connected to me.

We don't have to love the same things, though we share a history and a present that is hard to match. My son heard the whole book of Genesis during the first month of his life, as I read to him between breast feedings. His younger sister spent the first two weeks of her life in a psych ward (because that's where I was, having just left the cult.) We had many rocky years between then and now, fighting through custody battles and the back and forth between residences. During their early years, I was living at a theologically liberal divinity school; their father remained involved in the fundamentalist cult. My children not only travelled between houses but between worlds.

Now, grown, they are (if I say so myself) extraordinarily open-minded and balanced individuals. They grew up learning to read between the lines and not think in terms of black and white/ all-or-nothing categories. How could they with one foot in their father's world and one foot in mine? Neither their father nor I proved to be "right." The only rightness in either of our parenting was in how we loved our kids.

In my limited view of this life, love seems to be the one thing that overcomes all cognitive distortions - it allows for nuances, for differences and similarities. It doesn't judge. I could wax poetic and quote I Corinthians 13 but I'll let that go for now. The Bible is too confusing when it comes to love; too many fights and wars "in the name of love." Actions are the things that matter. And the actions of my grown children, coming to see me and hanging out, not just today but many days, for many years, remind me of how lucky I am. Years ago, I could never imagine such peace.

1 comment:

GT said...

You sure do have a way with words.

Thanks for writing this. Really puts things in perspective.

And happy Mother's Day to you. :)