An open letter to a young mother, out to lunch or shopping
with your child/children and your mom
First, you are beautiful. So is your child. And so is your mom.
Second, I am jealous of you. But I’m working to be much more than just jealous. I want to be happy for you. I want to be glad.
But more than that: I want to share in your moment. I want to take your moment like the softest pashmina made, clench it in my hands and then stretch it across my shoulders tightly, wrapping it all around my body, twice, if it will go.
When I look at you, shopping with your mom and your child, eating with your mom, chatting with your mom, I wonder. Do you realize how precious this is? Do you understand the way this moment is nourishing your spirit? Maybe you do. I do not believe I ever fully did.
Did you know this is a moment? A moment of significance, importance? The most simple, yet sublime comfort there is? It’s a moment of togetherness with your child, your mother, and you. Here in this café, walkway, shopping mall, store, grocery market – this moment is something you will remember forever. Long after your mother can no longer accompany you.
I want to tell you, it is. I want to tell you, like your best friend might, this moment is precious. That you should be basking in it, if you are not. Are you making mental notes? Are you taking mind pictures of your mom’s face as she wipes your child’s chin, reaches for his hand as you cross the parking lot, or takes the stroller as you pull a blouse from the rack, and ask for her opinion?
I do not know how to explain its significance except in the negative. For that, I apologize. But these small moments, which seem infinite to you right now, are finite. You might get hundreds, thousands even. But there will be a point when they cease to exist.
And when they do, somehow they will be what you miss most about not having an alive mom. The lack of them will take your breath away and wound you in ways you did not understand you could be hurt.
Here, in this precious moment, your beautiful mom gets to love you, her beloved child, and her adored grandchild, simultaneously. Her presence provides instant, unspoken support for all that you are doing or attempting to do to raise your child.
Whatever life you’ve chosen (working, not working, freelancing, volunteering, turbo-parenting), your mother supports you, even if she gives you pause to think about it all once in awhile. Whatever lessons you wish to impart to your child (even if they are just: use a napkin, say thank you, wash your hands) she is reinforcing. Whatever woe presses upon your heart leaves marks on your mother’s heart, too.
And here’s the last bit, then I will leave you in your glorious moment.
Even if you are harried, rushed, oblivious due to the many demands of wifehood, motherhood, or work, and you don’t feel it, you are nourished, upheld, comforted, spoiled and delighted by this connection with your mother, the source of all you are. This happens imperceptibly while it happens. And it’s happening.
And it’s wonderful. And so are you. And so is your mom.