is in any way easy to explain ~ that between a mother and a daughter.

There is just one thing ~ one mantra ~ left over from my childhood that I can still literally hear my mom say: You choose what you want to do, Lisa, as long as it makes you happy. I hear that voice again and again, especially lately: The one thing I want for you is to be happy. What have I always told you, Lisa? You need to do what makes you happy.

I don't feel like I have a good handle on what that is. I don't know what makes me happy. I'm still in a state of ... transition. {What does it mean, Mom, to be happy? Does it disappoint you that I would rather follow a set of rules ~ of order and decorum ~ rather than seek happiness and joy with abandonment? It disappoints me a little.} She can't answer that for me. And if she had an idea, she wouldn't share it with me so that I could find it on my own. Today I'm left wondering what would happen if I truly pursued what made me happy.

What makes my mom happy? How does she know? What makes my sister happy? Is it the same as my own? Do my sister and my mom have the same relationship as my mom and I? Is it different? Did we become the type of women my mom had hoped?

What does that woman look like? What did my mom want for us when we were younger? Does my mom know how closely I hold her heart in mine? Do I tell her? Does she believe me when I do? Does she know I think about the days when my dad left and she was forced to pull it together and parent us on her own? Does she know I haven't forgotten? Does she know she's still, in so many ways, the gauge, the meter, the measurement of what's right, what's wrong?

Does she know she's the first person I call when things go right / go wrong / get confusing? Mom, I'm getting a second degree. Mom, I'm getting married. Mom, we're seeing a fertility doctor. Mom, I think something Very Wrong is going on.

How can we feel so different and then how can my heart be so inextricably wrapped up in hers?

Is my own relationship with my future daughter(s) going to look the same? {Are those daughters ever going to be here?} Am I going to want the same thing for them? Am I going to be able to raise them with tightly held values? Are they going to know and follow a God that loves them more deeply than I ever could? {Am I going to fail them?} Are they going to trust me? Be proud of me? Know that they're loved?

Did my mom think these same things before my sister and I were born?

A couple of years ago my mom shared that she wrote us poems while we were in her belly, waiting to meet the world. I've been praying for my children since I was 19 years old. So much faith resides in that place. Faith and love and fear and hope and anxiety.

All at once.

All true.

When my mom told me about the poem writing, I went home and wrote my own. One day I will tell my daughters that their poem is in every way entrusted to them my their grandmother. And it is only, simply, so deeply, a legacy of that love.

To My Daughter

When you are born I will
gaze at your soft, sleeping infant
body and praise.
You are a little girl.

If you are my first born rejoice
in the legacy you
are born in to fiercely silence
those who whisper what a shame
you were not a boy.

You are mine.

I'll teach you the joy
the courage it takes to
serve a God who so intimately
knows you and who so purposefully
made you female.

You will find your own
cost of your Alabaster box
and a God divinely male.
Your soul must find the God
also divinely female.
Please celebrate this.

I will introduce you to your
many grandmothers ~ our mothers and
the mothers sent to us ~
listen to them name each Wisdom's
origin and seek your own.
Seek the mothers
that are not me.

And if you are born only
into my conscious
I will not love you less.
You are mine.

{2005}

I hope I can make my mom as proud as she has made me.

5 comments

  1. Jorge on May 12, 2008 at 7:29 PM

    I'm sure your mom is proud, even if she hadn't yet read your heartfelt words. Be well,
    J.

     
  2. Jungle Mama on May 14, 2008 at 1:51 AM

    Stunningly beautiful. I love my daughters and this poem suits them perfectly. You will make a wonderful mother. I agree with your mothers mantra and can see myself using it as well. I have one daughter in particular who needs constant reminding of the need for her own happiness. Thank you for the lovely Mother's Day read.

     
  3. Jorge on May 18, 2008 at 10:29 AM

    Life is very warm in the Southland this weekend, but otherwise tings are going well. I hope they are the same for you.
    J.

     
  4. meg on May 21, 2008 at 9:49 AM

    This time next year, in addition to hosting all the out-of-town family & preparing for the big joint grad party (there are 4 of them that have been best friends since 5th grade)I will probably be doing the same as now- sweating his grades & hounding him about studying for finals.
    The emotional side, I'm not certain; he's been talking about joining the Navy for the past year (I've asked him to do at least a year at community college first) & sprung his desire to go into law enforcement on us around his birthday in Feb- but it could all change next week (one of the advantages to being 17 & still under your parents' protection) Whatever direction he goes, I know we'll be proud of him- he's a pretty good guy, even if I do say so myself :-)

     
  5. Moxon on May 21, 2008 at 2:04 PM

    Hi!

    I wanted to let you know that I completely identify with your post about your mom.

    My husband is Arron from Eastern OU, we read your blog and enjoy every minute of it.

    I hope we can meet sometime, it would be great to get to know you. :)

     


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