When We Were Two Yet One

"My mother had a great deal of trouble with me, but I think she enjoyed it."
~ Mark Twain.

Happy Mother's Day Weekend!  Below, the beautiful painting by Edouard Manet depicts exactly what I will be doing tomorrow to celebrate except instead of a French garden, I will be lolling in the garden of a farmhouse in the Yorkshire Moors (and sadly I will not be wearing such a fabulous frock).

Now that I am a mother myself, this holiday has extra meaning for me and of course, I do love to be feted. But becoming a mother has made me appreciate my own mother in a whole new way.  I look around at all these people walking around in the world and think to myself "Wow, all these people grew in their mother's bellies for nine months all the while being supported by an umbilical cord attached to her body!"  This fact is simply miraculous and sci-fi at the same time - and then we all kind of forget about it most of the time.  I may be a little more tuned in to all this at the moment as I am carrying a little sibling for Xavier around in my own belly so I am feeling extra sentimental, awe-filled and happy this Mother's Day.

Two poetic writers describe the physically and emotionally symbiotic relationship of mother and child in a way that makes me tear up.

"I will say it is so:  The first voice I heard belonged to my mother.  It was her voice
I listened to from the womb; from the moment my head emerged into this world; from the moment I was pushed out then placed on her belly before the umbilicus was cut; from the moment when she cradled me in her arms.  My mother spoke to me: “Hello little one.  You are here, I am here.”  I will say it is so:  My mother’s voice is a lullaby in my cells.  When I am still, my body feels her breathing."

~ Terry Tempest Williams, from When Women Were Birds

And from Samantha Reynold's Bentlily:

Maybe You Won't Forget

In case your memories are scrubbed
by the lick of the air
as you enter the cluttered glare
of this place
let me tell you about this time
when you lay like a leaf
in the centre of me
about the dosas you craved
at strange hours
and how the young Indian waiters
couldn’t believe how much I ate
and the brave one
who asked me why
I ate alone
about all the books we read
one a day
as I lay on the couch
sobbing about the civil war
or the French one
whose words we sipped
like sherry
about the way your brother asked
can I cuddle in
and I thought he meant to me
until he went under the covers
and put his cheek
on my belly
and the time you waved
on the ultrasound
in the funny way your dad and I wave
to each other
like squirrels flirting
or maybe you won’t forget
maybe when I’m old
and my skin hangs
like a thin sheet off my nose
and my bones have yellowed
and folded into each other
maybe then you will take my hand
in yours and whisper
that was peaceful
wasn’t it
before the breath
when we were two
yet one.

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