I could not stop the tears last night. I could not. After struggling through reading Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, I gave up on the book and jumped straight to the movie, hoping there I might find sense and answers to the riddling puzzle laced within it's many twisting words.
Through pictures in movement and emotions telling what words could not, I finally understood.
I understood the story being told and in the story I found my own.
A young child alone in his journey is trying to make sense of life. His struggle continually alienates him from his mother who, deep in her own loss for answers and acceptance that life just doesn't always make sense, seems to have given up on reaching out to and for him.
Until you finally realize, she was searching for him all along even while keeping her distance so he could search for answers all his own.
My tears were not the first to fall today. Tucked between school and piano/guitar practice, scrubbing toilets and shuttling Trekkies, my girls and I met with many a squirmish. Navigating young women through the emotions of life added to the common selfish nature of ourselves is a job not for the faint of heart.
With this journey, with this education there are no maps, no rulebooks. No clearly defined formulas, no simple equations that guarantee an easy life.
Hardheaded met stubborn on the battlefield untl I finally surrendured us all, bowing my head with each on my knee, asking for a miracle.
After an extended squabble between sisters and animosity only growing as they worked side by side, each tried to out outlaw the other. Wicked whispers under breath, evil eyes veiled though thinly.
Each heaped insult to injury until the pain seemed theirs alone. Finally understanding that her sin had led another to share the forbidden fruit, she was the first to cry mercy. Mercy not for herself, but for the one she had wronged and for the other who reaped the fruit of her choices.
Wondering aloud why she willingly made such wicked choices, ones that hurt others, I could only hold her and promise her that this journey of choosing would always be hers and that for a lifetime she must find a way to choose love.
Later in the evening it was her sister's turn to weep. Tears of shame when they should have been tears of joy upon the invitation of access to her sister's sleepover. Knowing the right each has to exclusive claim over their shared room when they have an overnight guest, her sister had revoked her privilege by asking her to stay and play.
Coals of ashes could not have been more painful as she remembered that only last week she had jealously coveted her own overnight guest's company and would not let her sister in. She wept for the sorrow of opportunity lost, wept for the kindness she didn't deserve, and finally, reluctantly accepted the invitation to enter in.
This role of mother, this journey through it's hood, is almost too much. The answers I don't have, the choices I can't choose for them. The guard they put up when I only want to rush in. The hurt they carry, the hurt they cause. And this... All of this while I can only stand by as witness.
Seeing the hurt, sensing their need, we cannot solve or dissolve the pain nor their agony of spirit.
But we, like the mother in the movie, can go ahead, not more than just a step ahead. Leading the way, sometimes out of sight, sometimes in plain view. But always there, no matter how far they stray, no matter how long they linger.
Because a mother's love will go there.
Sometimes after a long day's leading there is nothing left for me but tears and worries. Wondering what lies ahead for them on their journey, hopeful they will follow the road I know they should take.
Some days the rewards of mothering come before their end. Some days there seems to be nothing but disappointment.
But if I could choose, choose between the days of following only my map, figuring out what to do with a day that was fully mine and the days of helping them in theirs, fighting through my own anxious thoughts to help lead them home, I would still choose the ones that oft lead to disappointment.
Because while I may experience days of disappointment, it is supremely better than having nothing and no one to call my child and none to call me mama.
I'd like to ponder it a little longer, the lengths to which my love has gone and the lengths to which I know it could carry me. Perhaps while swinging high into the branches of that childhood tree, getting lost in the rythm. Upward, onward each new morning. Face to the heavens where the beautiful blue beckons me to believe but where too the doubts threaten to darken my days.
This mothering, this calling will take some letting go. Letting go to a Father who can carry my weight, carry me through in miracles of the moments, resting on HIs eternal love as I seek to pass it on to them.
This love, this will be the key to everything along their journey.
Easy labor. Hold loosely. Keep releasing. Alone together. Good grief. Beginnings end.
The oxymorons of motherhood. The paradoxes of it's love.
But oh! the lengths this mother will go, because my Father's love went all the way for me.
( My thoughts on motherhood, immediately following a viewing of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.)