It’s been a very full few days. I’ve been traveling–visiting one of my dearest friends and her new baby, followed by a visit to my favorite-retreat-on-a-lake with friends who treat me like family. As often happens, everything didn’t go as planned but everything happened as it should.
First, there was meeting 3-month old Gwendolyn. Babies have always been a struggle for me, in part because I wasn’t very skilled at having them. For decades, I used any excuse I could not to hold them. I rarely go to baby showers. I once refused to shop for baby things. Losing babies changes your life–and in my case, I ran away from it.
I’ve realized a shift recently. Perhaps it is because two of my friends gave birth to daughters this year. My friend Joelle became an Oma, too, and that little girl was born on my birthday. Three precious children, just starting out their life’s journey.
I held Gwendolyn as much as I could. And you know, it was pretty wonderful. Her Mama is doing a wonderful job and watching the bond between them was a huge blessing.
After Gwendolyn and her Mama, I’d planned a visit to the lake. Just before I was to arrive, my friends were gripped with the loss of a treasured and dear family friend. How incredible it was to hear them tell stories of their Kay, to listen to the many things they loved about her. In the evening, we cooked Kay’s ravioli, with sauce inspired by what she’d taught them in the many times they’d made it together. It was so good, I laughed with them as they shared their memories. I feel as though I knew her too. I’ve heard stories about her before–and quite likely she’s heard them about me too. From everything I can tell, we’d have been friends. How wonderful is that?
Very. Yet I’ve already had to say goodbye.
We celebrated Mother’s Day. My mother lives on the other side of the country and it isn’t always possible to visit her. Aside from acknowledging Mom’s influence on my life, I don’t much like the day. It’s not that I don’t think people should celebrate moms–not at all. Sometimes, I am filled with wonder at the intensity of a love like that. I tend to avoid much of the rigamarole around it. I know, there’s a theme here.
This year was different. Watching two generations of wise women relate to their daughters in a way I am unfamiliar with was inspiring. Listening to the banter in the kitchen, holding ice to a toddler’s boo-boo, reciting poems, preparing brunch, watching a movie–wonderful moments that I will treasure.
One of their traditions is to leave cards and gifts in front of places at the table. I was surprised to see a card with my name on it, lovingly placed in front of my plate. The words inside were thoughtful and inclusive, because that’s just how my best friend is. Afterwards, I had an email from a young woman I’m fond of–she thanked me for my guidance in her life, and the combination of the card and the email humbled me. It’s happened before, where someone acknowledged that I’ve had a mothering influence in their lives. It surprises me every time.
It’s easy to think we don’t matter, that the words we say or the hugs we give or even the dreams we have simply don’t matter. We indulge in a little self-pity, wonder if the world even knows we’re there. We say hello to new babies, and goodbye to old friends, and we miss family and we wonder if any of the hard stuff we go through makes a difference.
It does. It all matters. Sometimes for others, more often for ourselves.
These past days have been rich. The moms I was visiting are, without question, making a significant impact on the world. Their children are too. So is a friend I never met.
And you know what? So am I. I’m feeling profoundly blessed this morning.