She who in her last days loved too well to lose
a single weed to namelessness, in cresote,
blue grama, goatsbeard that is not thriving, is,
amid the cattail's brittle whisper whispers
O Law', Honey, ain't this a praiseful thing.
-Christian Wiman (from the poem The Resevoir)
At some point in my free and opinionated youth I decided that I would never be one of 'those' mothers: whose conversations revolve around their children as though in some sort of planetary orbit. Who follow their kids around with a camera in paparazzi fashion. Or who seem to lose their own identities in the mess of energies and activities required of motherhood.
Oh, but to any perceptive eye- even mine own- this is exactly who I have become. I am that mom. But with good reason I think. I once told a once-free-and-opinionated friend like me, 'we are becoming exactly what we most feared, but in the beautiful of ways'. At least that's how I prefer to see it.
The truth is that I spend a lot of time with Wren. Nearly all of the time, in fact. Overall I thank my lucky stars for the opportunities our situation affords, and for our closeness, and for the ways we constantly learn and affect one another. But by the same measure there are plenty of times- more than I feel comfortable admitting- that I feel inhibited. Or just plain bored.
One normal and mundane afternoon last week Wren and I went for a walk around our neighborhood, and as is usual I brought the camera. While I followed her taking pictures I realized that practically speaking there was nothing exciting nor exceptional happening, and therefore very little impetus to capture any of these little moments on camera.But the strange truth is that each and every one of those pictures is like a silent meditation, a prayer of gratitude for the ordinary life of an ordinary little person. I realized how very much I want to be like the old woman in that Christian Wiman poem. Even the weeds growing in her garden are 'praiseful' things to be nurtured and admired, not one to be lost. How deeply I want to see each moment of Wren's (and my) life (no matter how frustrating or mundane and seemingly ugly) as something to nurture and admire.
Like most of the mothers I know, at times I find myself watching my little girl sleep, so grateful to watch her little chest balloon open and closed with the rhythm of her breath. So grateful to be reminded of the extraordinary gift of life I watch firsthand, and daily.