A Poem: The Idea of Mother

Mar 8, 2021 | Birth and Parenting, Creativity, Poetry

As a person adopted as an infant in a closed adoption, and reunited with my birth family in my early 20s, I have lived with paradox and duality for my whole life. While many people see a world of EITHER / OR, I’ve learned that life is complex and filled with BOTH, AND. I have two families. I have two mothers. I can mourn the loss of my mom who died in 1997, while I plan lunch with my mother who lives 20 minutes away. This poem, the Idea of Mother, helped me bring together in my mind the different yet similar ways that both women held me, loved me, and let me go. This photo shows me with that gorgeous curl Mom made.

I knew a woman
whose womb embraced me;
who held me inside rocking, walking,
who held me inside rocking, walking,
traced my outline through taut skin,
dreamed my laughter, walked in gardens,
measured her growth and mine, felt me turning,
strained open, and released me.

I knew a woman
whose arms embraced me;
who sang songs of pretty birds and rocked me sleeping,
dressed me, placed a curl on my head,
helped me to walk, taught me manners,
measured my height on the door, and watched me growing,
strained open, and released me.

I know these women I call mother.
Women who greet me and know my name.
Women whose lives embrace me.

What might summer illuminate?

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