A House of Air
To be sacred allies in this journey is to say I stand aligned with your struggle, though it may not be mine. In this, I have known a great many kindred spirits.
There is a mother in Chicago who makes meals in a dingy basement apartment, culling items from the fridge before they spoil, and braving the winds of adversity. She sips red wine when her daughter falls asleep and examines her pores in the mirror. Together, we have scraped at the dirt, planting happiness for wild bouncing fidgets.
In Philadelphia, beneath the steamy covers of depression lies a soft blue-eyed soul. During the best moments, straps her boy to her back and trudges amongst the people, determined to find sunshine. At her worst, digging pennies from couch cushions in unwashed PJs, she swerves along the line and doubts her own mind. Our vulnerability clasps hands in the darkest nights.
I’ve seen a girl walking in the woods, all smiles and brightness. Her eyes glitter when she speaks of her husband and mushrooms, and she seems to hold a river of joy in her toes. I envy the big windows of her new home, her grand love affair, and the simplicity of days spent entirely with her belly-grown babes. And yet, I know the wonders of baking and the sweetness of wide, exploring eyes. We are united in our splendor and amazement with the natural gifts of earth and time.
Far away, on a tree-lined coast, where rocks wash ashore, is a woman swaying to a ‘60s sound and preparing bowls of yumminess to carry her through the day. She delights in flowers and has a new, roll-y love to tuck beneath her arm each night. The mornings break and find her snuggled between the children who bookended her growth: one before loss, and one when the hole was filled again. She forges a path for me to track, forcing me to believe a companion might suit this lone wolf. Across a thousand miles, we’ve sung Buffy Sainte-Marie into the wind, and wished for love.
In the land of grey and knits is a tall tree standing firm. She has taken root in the rain, and spreads herself across the mountains. In her shade grows the sweet elves of her creation, and I return over and over to marvel at the width of her sturdy trunk. We have grown up tall in these years.
In truth, I’ve never stood beside most souls I call my equal. The circle which has enveloped me, brought me comfort, and held my hand when I sat most alone are a group of sisters I’ve yet to meet. I carry their hearts in my palms, finding strength in the constant reminder that I do not mother alone. Our foremothers blazed a trail so that our stories had space to breath and air to ride.
I am another footprint in the long path of women who’ve come before. They have nurtured, stoked, and bundled a fiery love for their babies allowing those same little ones to wander and come to rest elsewhere.
Sister souls line the routes of motherhood, but the distance and seeming disparities can dim the light of our bond. Certainly, there are achy moments and days and seasons which seem to grand and deafening to conquer. I am aware then, of the great wide open space and silence surrounding me. The atmosphere grows desperate, and I can struggle to find consolation in the same creatures who felt family only days earlier. This is the isolating call of insecurity, doubt, and comparison, which threatens to dismantle and demolish the makeshift and invisible temple of companionship that encases the shared experience of mothering.
Perhaps, like me, you feel a pull to strangers and see bits of your sweet and worthy self in their reflection. Perhaps you groan with exhaustion and deadlines and business tangled in the life you wish to be leading. Perhaps you cannot find the words to solicit the support you need. Please, please know that we are here. Kindred spirits are walking right beside you, filling the world with dazzling light and genuine relief. Look up! See that we are like you and are making our way just as delicately. We are united in this motherhood.
Tug on the ties which bind you, and feel me standing strong for you on the other end, guiding you towards goodness.
Jump, and know the landing will be soft.
Scream, and hear our echo.
I am with you.
JOURNALIST: Adrienne Oliver