To my Mother on Mother’s Day

I’ve chosen over the years to live in many places, claiming my identity again and again. Ever in search mode, I’ve looked for comfort, for love, and most all — for truth. As a teen I felt in my bones that I must leave my roots and replant to form fresh ones in new places. That I must have as many experiences as possible and leave a part of myself everywhere I go — like a dandelion puff who trusts the wind’s direction. Throughout that movement, the wind-swept adventure of life, I discovered something comforting, something loving, something truth-filled:

My mother is always with me.

I look down at my hands and I see the veins surfacing, blood pumping remarkably as I run mile after mile. These are my mother’s hands, the power of possibility and the gift of reaching outward to grasp and to hold. Each time I wrap my fingers around a mug of coffee, type a poem on my laptop, pull my lover or my dog in for a kiss — her hands are with me.

I feel my heart within my ribcage pound in excitement for newness, in ferocity for justice, in compassion for others. My mother created this heart in her womb, taught it how to keep time. This drum in my chest beats to a song she hummed for me before I emerged into the world, a melody I can’t remember but the feeling I do.

I rub my feet together in the winter to create heat beneath warm blankets and, barefoot in the summer, I walk through uncut grass. I see my mother’s feet propped up on the couch (a cup of tea or glass of wine in her hands) and she rubs them together, creating her comfort. I love that I have this way of self soothing and grounding, too.

I breathe in lilac and rose bushes as I walk past them and linger leaning into the shrubbery. Each bud, each flower, each leafy branch. Just as she smiled widely with every scent of summer shared with her, our chubby toddler hands squeezing plucked petals as she held us — I do, too.

And then I see my poetry, my writing, the words that spill out without warning and delight me or pain me, guide me or lead me further through the labyrinth of my mind. She knows her children are writers and poets, artists and creatives, soulful humans sharing their gifts with their worlds. And so when I write, I write best when I feel her within me. We grow from what we came from. And my words, my writing, my way of being continues to grow from her.

And so – Wherever I am planted, wherever my roots reach downward into the unknown of dark soil, I know that what continues to emerge is the beauty of my mother within me. I am reaching upward and outward, strong and beautiful because she showed me how.

I love you, Mom. Happy mother’s day to the woman who loves with all her heart.

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