I will love the light for it shows me the way.
Yet I will endure the darkness for it shows me the stars.
It is sometimes in dark places I learn to become a mother.
The lessons come quiet, and it is in the doing I learn, and that without realizing.
Looking back, I can see her. Me. She is younger, not as gray or wrinkled, less sure yet parodoxically more certain, depending on the "what". Funny, but in years to come, she'll grow in confidence about the things she once questioned, but her certainty will diminish about the things she was sure. Perspective changes but paradox remains, in itself, another paradox.
Or maybe I just sound crazy because that is perfectly lucid to me.
On a single bed with rose-carved maple headboard–a hand-me-down from my husband's childhood because free is always in style–I'm lying on my right side facing her. She's in restless sleep, the heat from her body searing mine. She may as well be a thousand degrees. In a mother's hyperbolic economy in the middle of the night, that would be no worse.
Her face inches from mine, I inhale her "sick breath," a mixture of breast milk and fever and misery. It takes only one lesson to remember it everytime.
Eighteen years later and the scent-memory returns with the mere thought of it! Am I the only one who marvels at that? Who remembers like this?
The urge to scoop her up and race to the emergency room counters intellegence. I recite what I know to be true–fevers are good, it's the body's natural defense to fight infection–but her rattly and raspy breaths argue otherwise.
She stirs and I touch her. She instantly settles. She needs to know I'm there. She just needs to know I am there.
My touch heals…
My presence matters…
Sickness has a scent…
This will never change, but I don't know that then.
Lessons of motherhood learned from dark places are never forgotten.
Light scatters darkness…
Truth dispels deception…
Universal truths seeded in every lesson I've learned along the way.