Her cool hand against my forehead I sleep well for the first time in days. All of the certainty of my womanhood slips away from me, and I am, again, her small child…my head in the safety of her lap. My body singing, “Mother. Mother. Mother.”
When my own daughter was growing inside of me, my body held her tightly. All she knew, I like to think, was my embrace, her whole body held in my whole body…my body whispering the secrets of a mother and daughter. The secrets of the generations of women flowed through me into her with the blood passing through her umbilical cord.
Every single day I thought of them, the women who came before her, before me, before…like nesting dolls. My only daughter inside me. Who was my mother’s only daughter. Who was her mother’s only daughter. Who was her mother’s only daughter.
I imagined her carrying her own daughter someday.
Our bodies grew together and I thought of the other women who shared my blood on my father’s side…the ones whose genes born such a mark on my body, my face. My father’s mother, whose nervous laugh I can hear echoed in my own. The great-aunt whose son saw her in me as I moved twenty feet away. The humorously unimpressed curl of my lip that, when caught out of the corner of my eye, startled me in the mirror so much that I spoke her name out loud, “Mary.” They wrapped their promises around me as I grew her, my daughter, who I thought would carry them forward in time—countless generations beyond.
This morning her little body rested heavily on my arm as we curled around each other, nestled like mismatched opening quotation marks. Breathing in and out together, we are one creature again.
This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post. This week’s sentence, in honor of Mother’s Day in the US is “Oh, Mother…” I found myself struggling for words for this week’s prompt…because, I suppose, I write so much about being a mother! For some of my favorite posts on motherhood and mothering, check these out: