For mothers who are deciding how they will be mothered.
My mom and I are not close.
I don’t trace my history in her palm or search for safety in her lap.
I feel her love,
but I don’t call her home.
Maybe if she’d been my grandmother
I’d feel differently,
but the space of more years
exceeds resets we can retrofit.
Her now is not our then.
My love language is touch
but I find no safety in it.
I’m a sexually experienced
asexual whose body doesn’t trust affection
more than energy or
potential more than memory;
the rush that turns my cheeks flush is trauma,
and I am not easily
moved to cuddle.
My loves have names and childhoods
that do and don’t resemble mine,
and their joy plants into
new ideas about how I can be nurtured.
Daughters like me love our moms,
but our moms’ needs clash with our own.
This can happen, and we
may spare our mothers
We may want our mothered mothers
more than a mothering mother.
not the fourteen year old
as they learn their no was meaningless,
spared the enraged,
or the grieving, the hurried,
the resentful or numb.
Spared the smothering with the absent,
the resourcing from vacancy.
a left behind child
now a dispossessed older child,
now an adult erasing your existence.
Motherhood shouldn’t haunt you,
but sometimes it will.
Sometimes families of origin dine with their friendlier ghosts,
drawn to dance with habits of fear
Sometimes we can’t help ourselves,
and sometimes it’s not only our choices.
It can be the hospital stay and nursery
you painted, climbing blood pressure and
difficult or weak or intense bonds.
It can be a blood stained dress at a party,
and a fantasy we couldn’t part with.
It can be a nightmare that won’t end,
the trouncing lullaby and hastening and pleading for things to be different or
just not right now.
We can learn how to mother by observing,
but we are mothered out of every met
and unmet place.
And I wonder, can we tell the difference?
Can we feel our motivation?
Can we ease our unease,
whatever it’s source or it’s significance?
Are we children longing to mother,
or parents in need of mothering?
Could it matter which one happens first?
I am not close to my daughter,
but I remember giving birth to her.
Her energy contains maps back into myself,
first as a child,
then as a visitor,
and maybe one day to parent
and reparent us both.
Who knows what mothering
I need to receive first,
and what my loves will teach me.