The Shadow Side of Motherhood




It’s a brand new morning, the end of another week and Sorrow keeps pounding on the back deck door like if she stays out one more second she’ll freeze to death. With these winter subzero digits she’s not all wrong.

I’m half-tempted.

Shuffling in she bears a small glint in her eye, like she knows I needed her (ugh).

I watch her head straight for the cupboard and pull down a mug that reads: “Give me coffee and tell me I’m pretty“.

Handing it to me she says, “I’ll take it black.”

I live to serve” I retort. To which she ignores.

Reaching for my own cup of liquid coherence — I give the stink eye.

I didn’t invite her over and I don’t want to listen – even to her silence.

Especially the silence.

But my uninvited companion knows the weight on my heart today. I’m in the middle of a hard place that matters — straining to see the light.

It looks so dark.

I fear neglect, harm, narcissism, selfishness and pain are happening to people I love and Sorrow isn’t feeling too helpful.

She comes alone, sits, and I’m quick to forget the gift of Presence.

(To be fair, Wisdom is probably locked out on the front porch but I don’t want her coming in – either.)

(Not yet.)

Whenever Wisdom comes around I feel like I  failed another yoga class or forgot to be smarter. Again.

Well, right now I’m worried about the well being of children I care about. A lot.

I  want coloring around the kitchen table. Playing games next to the fire. Building Lincoln Logs and reading stories from books printed in 1976.

And most of all – I want them to know Love.

All of which I am powerless to make happen.

I live here, they live there and a there’s a whole lot of tree’s in between.

Okay, maybe Wisdom can come in. I’ll scoot my fat butt over – make room.

She keeps showing up anyway…like a literature evangelist minus the pamphlets — holding on to something I keep losing in the dark.

She trusts a Benevolence so far beyond what I can see, predict or control with a belief both inspiring…and impenetrable it’s maddening.

I watch Wisdom pick out “Jesus and Coffee“– pour the last bit, sit down and look at me.

I want to be so immature and roll my eyes with her mug of choice but head for the rant instead:

“So….here we are….on this little spinning blue ball of a planet suspended somewhere in the universe with one primary ‘task’ we’ll never achieve: “to love”. Well, no-thanks. I’m too judge-y and too angry.  When handed a big steaming plate of hurt, fear, uncertainty, confusion, anger and surrender — I take that hot mess and dump it in the garbage. I like taking charge of situations — make them better. Confront the barrier. Find a way in. It’s visceral. And, just so you know, I’m not alone. There’s a lot of us out there who don’t have time for the gobbledy gook of nice ideas and better behaviors.”

“Uh-huh” — they say, except for…
“Except for what?!” I retort.

“Except for when you can’t actually “do” anything at all. When you’re in an emergency room, or on the couch after taking a call, or after the letter falls from your hand and you’ve heard the news.”

Wisdom keeps going…

“These moments represent a part of adulthood you have to teach your children:  now. They need skills and abilities that will help them move through and accept parts of life deeply unfair and imperfect.

Discernment can help but you probably left him at a park bench last week when you thought you had time for a midday chat.”

I know she’s right.

Suddenly I feel an arm around me.

I inch away.

Wisdom inches closer. These guys are pro’s.

They know, with a little love of their own to give,  I’ll find my way out of this paper bag.

Something, someone bigger than me does hold all this in a Palm far greater than mine. Because…I was never meant to.

Today, it’s not complicated.

I have to let go of a situation I want to hold close forever. I have to surrender and trust in an unseen force that claims it’s got my best interest at heart…and (more importantly) the best interest of those I love.

I don’t know, yet, how to teach Sedona-Grace the full power of all this Surrender stuff but I’m willing to try.

Every hard lesson learned  has made me a better human being- for her, and for any other child (or human) I needed to love.

I am certain it can do the same for you – if not already.


Sedona what is the most important thing about being a mom?

It’s that I need a mom…or I wouldn’t even be here.

What’s the most important thing a mommy should do?”

Make sure I’m safe…and make sure you’re safe too.

2 thoughts on “The Shadow Side of Motherhood

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