I take great joy in observing life. I spend a lot of time pondering my observations. So, one day I thought I would write them down. These are my ponderings. -dana

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Habit of Mothering.

A few weeks ago, our family of five was sharing a small lodge in the mountains.

Today the physically closest of my three children is approximately 1,500 miles away.  Fifteen hundred miles.  The other two are oceans away.

And here is the next part.  These three will maintain this distance for the next six weeks, at which time one of them will come back to me.  Okay, so he's not actually returning to me, per se, but I can imagine it so if I want!!  Don't judge.  The point is, he will return to within 70 miles of me.  Ahh, much better!

Here's a sample of the barrage of thoughts consistently weaving themselves through my mind for this week.

I hope he doesn't have the volume on his headset turned up too high when he's driving-- he won't be able to hear the horn of another car blasting. 

 I hope she remembers to keep her migraine medicine with her all the time--those things come on without warning. And drink water...she should be drinking plenty of that.  

 Gosh, I hate that he is going to be walking into an empty, cold house so late at night and with classes starting tomorrow morning!  

I wonder if she's taking one of those little puddle-jumpers way up north...oh dear Lord don't let the engine ice up!  

Surely to goodness he is wearing a helmet when he bikes!  

I wonder if he has his grades back yet.  Let them be good, but if not help him not to be too disappointed.  You is kind.  You is smart. You is important.  (Okay, I borrowed that from someone else!)

As one can plainly see, I am in the habit of mothering.

Hello.  My name is Dana.  And I mother.  A verb.

I can't stop.

When I verbalize these things, here are the comments I get.

"Mom, I'm twenty-five".

"Dana, they're grown".

No kidding?  Really?  Because I hadn't noticed.  Have I not planned collectively some 54 birthday parties?  If asked, I could more than likely tell you themes of said parties and I could probably tell you what the birthday boy or girl was wearing for each. So yeah.  I know they're grown now.  I get it.  I watched it happen.  Front row seat.

And I've lost my season tickets.  Now it's like watching the game at home on television rather than sitting in the stadium.  At times, I find myself glued to the TV.  Cheering and praying.  Praying and cheering.  And heaven help me if the satellite loses the signal!

Here's the deal.  Some might suggest that it's time I get up and make some popcorn.  Maybe make a nice dip for the chips.  Heck, maybe even leave at half-time and just hear about the outcome later.  That might be good and healthy.  In fact, maybe I should  forgo the game altogether and just tune in to ESPN for a recap a little later.  Then, maybe one day, I won't really need to watch the game at all.  Hmmm. Here's what I think about that.

When pigs fly.

I did cut the apron strings.  I really did.  Then I did what any self-respecting mother would do.  I replaced them with rubber bands.  They are the really big, stretchy kind.  So stretchy, in fact, that they can reach all the way across the world!  And yet.....well I think of it as a kind of safety net.  I know what you're thinking.  A safety net for whom?  Me or them?  Them.  Totally them!

It's not like I'm not good at other things.  I am.  It's just that I'm best at mothering.  It's not like I don't like doing other things.  I do.   It's just that the thing I like most to do is be a mother.  It's not like I don't find meaning in other things.  I do.  It's just that I find the most meaning in being a mother.  In that role are the metaphors for all other things in life.  That role makes everything else make sense.

They say that if we stick with something for 30 days, it becomes a habit.  I've been a mother for roughly 9,856 days. So, yeah.   Not exactly a surprise that I've grown into my role.

Oh, but let me be clear about something.  

I don't lie around curled in the fetal position all day.  No. I have come to love the freedom, possibility and simplicity of my empty-nest life.  I attempt to live daily with purpose and faith. I write stories. And music.  I teach children to play the piano.  I go out to dinner and the movies.  I snow ski.  I go junking with girlfriends.  I cuddle with my husband and watch TV.  Together we leisurely spend Saturday mornings drinking a whole pot of coffee in pajamas.  We have inside jokes that our kids don't get.   We've even committed to learning spanish together this year.   But still,  here's something you can take to the bank.  Between every little "Hola" and "Adios" there will always be a monologue whispering through my head questioning if my girl packed a warm-enough coat, if my boy is stressing too much over school, and if my other boy has enough protein in his diet.

Because I'm Dana.

And I am in the habit of mothering.

rubber bands.  a generous tether.


  1. You are beautiful, sweet friend.

    1. Thank you, Carol. Reading about you mothering six is such inspiration!

  2. Oh my goodness. YES! And I am just on the early stages of them flying away.

    "I've lost my season tickets. . . And heaven help me if the satellite loses its signal!" Love this!

    Hugs another fan of mothering.

    1. We're all in this together, aren't we Linda? Right back at ya with the hugs!

  3. You are a mind reader! We mothers must stick together. Thanks for the affirmations.