One of my daughters is poetry. She feels first, always. She is calligraphy. She is theater. She is emotions. She can take the simplest of ingredients and make it into something special. She can make the ordinary not ordinary. She is organic and kind and plays guitar. She bakes. She likes to give people gifts, especially when people are hurting.
One of my daughters is geometry. She loves math and angles and formulae. Give her dates. Give her numbers. Recently we went to a doctor's appointment where a key code was required for the bathroom. She remembered the code weeks later, all five digits. She knows movies verbatim. She sees the world as one big combination. She sees people the same.
One of my daughters is mercy, one is truth.
One is adventure novels, one is maps.
One is the sun, one is the moon.
These two creatures pull me into two different directions of love, enlarging me, making me a better version of myself. I wasn't as organized until I became a mother and saw the importance of health and schedules. I wasn't as fluid until I saw the flow necessary for my children to create, to know experience without time boundaries. To play with LEGO bricks for hours. To take pieces of cardboard and bring life to them.
They need a mother who is an ocean, with kind boundaries and strong tides, respectable depths and playful shallows. Before they came into my life I was a pool, exactly five feet deep in all corners, clear, predictable. More perfect, maybe? But then I entered the world of motherhood.
For years I was lost. I couldn't see the shore. Life was murky.
Until I accepted the gift.
I let their laughter and curiosity and intelligence and grace enter my life. I laid down the mantle of "I am parent and I know best" and became, simply, their servant and their student. The only way I know to grow servants and students it to model it.
Before then, I yelled at them and they returned the favor.
I barked. They barked.
I was turning them into very loud people.
And then there was a day when I reached deep inside and treated my children with respect and learned that they mirror what they see. I'm not perfect. They're not perfect. We try. Love is work. But love works. It's worth it.
My children are not my friends, not yet. They're not my enemies. They're in my care. I am their mother; not their equal, not their better and not lesser either. I have more say in their life than a friendship would warrant. It's unique work, motherhood. Any other relationship like this would be labeled as "inappropriate" or "codependent." One day I hope to be more of a friend to them. But I will always be their mother.
I worry a lot. I think that comes with the territory of motherhood. I'm working on not worrying so much. Many years ago my husband and I were marveling that we accidentally named our children versions of "Morning" and "Evening." And then we laughed because they were born in the morning and evening, respectively. For a moment it felt serendipitous and romantic. We were anchored in the thought that there was a bigger picture at hand, a larger story, something beyond our grasp.
One of my daughters is poetry and one is geometry. Both are needed to build a home.