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There is no limit to mothering

The Kingston Whig-Standard by Bev Chambers 12 May 2012

I was in the garden tackling a voracious weed. I was conscious of the robin’s nest in the corner and was trying not to prevent the parents from bringing the worms to their babies. The sun was shining.

I looked up. There on the corner of the yard was Audrey, the young girl from next door. She was holding hands with her friend. The two of them looked at me with big eyes. “Hi Audrey”, I said. She responded. I asked her who her friend was. She told me. She and her playmate both stood there watching me. I knew they wanted something but was unsure what. I waited out the silence. This voice came.” Can we play on your swing set?”

I smiled to myself. It was suddenly clear to me why we had the chat about the swing set last summer. How obtuse I had been. Audrey had commented on why we had the swing set when we did not have children to play on it. The obvious answer would have been, “No, we don’t, but would you like to play on it?” Audrey, clearly a tenacious child, kept on course several months later.

Audrey and her friend perched on the seats and swung. I could hear the creak of the swings, back and forth, back and forth. They giggled and chattered. I dug the garden and enjoyed the sounds of the children playing. They slid down the old slide that had not been used for numerous years. They made a little house under the slide. I wanted to join them. It looked like a lot more fun then shoveling weeds. There is something about the innocence of children playing that touches the heart. I kept sneaking surreptitious glances at them. I could tell that they were oblivious to me.

They finished playing and Audrey ventured over. “We will be back later” she promised. I showed her the robin’s nest which was well hidden in the forsythia bush. She stretched on her toes and her gaze sharpened as she focused on the little beaks. “Cool”, she said, and sauntered off.

I continued to dig the weeds up. I recalled how my daughters and I pretended that there were fairies in the garden. I remembered how we had painted a large cardboard container and how they had played with it for hours. I thought about motherhood and how it stays with you forever. It is not just a job, or a role, rather a special connection, and a unique attachment.

I remember the first time that I fully realized that I was a mother. I was at a friend’s house with my daughter Rebecca. Although normally a 20 minute walk it seemed to take twice that as I was pushing the stroller. Rebecca was 10 lb 3 oz at birth and the birth process had left me quite exhausted. She was a month old. I arrived at the house feeling like I had run a marathon (not that I ever have of course, but what I imagined it to be). My friend was talking to her neighbour. She introduced me. “This is Bev and her daughter Rebecca”. It was at that moment that I truly realized – I have a daughter. Therefore I am a mother. You may say, well that is not rocket science, or, you do not need a degree to figure that one out. The attachment that you develop with your child is something that occurs over time.

When my second daughter Margaret came along the ability to mother grew to encompass her. There is no limit to mothering.

I finally finished fighting the weeds. I went inside. That night my mother called. We told each other that we loved each other.

This Sunday celebrate being a mother. Celebrate mothering.