Tugging at the StringAmy Rosenthal
There are certain unspoken things between women — like the notion that we can never fully understand our mother’s lives until we become mothers ourselves. Yes, we can love them with our whole hearts, but until we’ve actually taken that magical mystery tour ourselves, there is no capital “T” true knowing. This saddens me a bit because that means there is a space between us. It makes me especially sad because I am supposed to be so much like you. But I’ll admit I think there is a kind of truth in the notion.
That said, you and I, we have our string. I can think something 3,000 miles away, and you feel it. And vice versa. There is an inexplicable metaphysical cord that connects us. We can feel it tug at both the most obvious and unexpected times. “There’s that string,” we always say.
And over the years, as we’ve come to understand and learn about the world more, we’ve started to understand each other better. And bit-by-bit we’ve bridged itty-bitty gaps in that space between us. So while I may never know — in the truest way, from firsthand experience — I do know this: I know that every single day of your motherhood has been spent balancing the best intentions for everyone in our family. Every. Single. Day. I know that can’t have been easy.
I know it wasn’t easy creating a home with and for our very busy brains bouncing off the walls, whirling thought dervishes with conflicting ideas.
I know the reason you confessed to me, just recently, to being grateful for not knowing everything I did in my youth, is you knew me, and yourself. You knew I needed to find my own truths. You also knew you wouldn’t be able to stomach the boundary push if you really knew what was going on. But you knew I would find my way safely through, and so you trusted me.
I know one of the reasons you tell me not to be afraid to ask questions is you never want me to fear my own voice. (Or the answers.) I know you don’t want me to be afraid.
I know that every time you read the “Footprints in the Sand” poem to me you cry not because of any faith (though you have some) but because you want me to know all the ways you have tried to be there for me. And I do know that, Beene. Those are your footprints for me. Yours.
I may never know what it is like to be a mother, but I don’t need to know that to know this: You are remarkable. And I love you with my whole heart. I celebrate you on this day, and every day. Thank you, Beene.
Happy Mother’s Day.