Joy and Pain

As Mother’s Day approaches, I’ve been thinking about the joy and pain of motherhood. I’m speaking from the perspective of a woman in her early sixties and about my role as a mother and as a daughter.

Design by Deanne Fitzpatrick, Hooked by Meryl Cook

This past year has been one of joy and pain on both fronts. There has been a surprising feeling of empty nest. Surprising because the last child left home at least seven years ago. When our boys first moved out there was a joy of finally having the house to ourselves, the joy of waking up to a tidy kitchen, of knowing the food in the fridge you are planning for supper will still be there when you get home from work.

Our sons are all at various stages of establishing themselves, which means they don’t need us for much. When they first moved out we saw lots of them – to borrow the car, come for groceries or a meal, help with finding places to live or to rent a car to help them move. This is happening less and less and to be honest it feels lonely.

This year I feel the joy of our son’s upcoming marriage and of finally having a girl in the family. I’ve felt the joy of watching his brother establish himself as an artist and the opportunities this has opened up for him. This past year there has been indescribable pain as one of the three struggles to find his way.

This past year or two I’ve experienced the pain of seeing my mother diminish and fade into dementia. While there is joy in still having her with us, and the joy of days when we have a good conversation and we hear her laugh, I feel I’ve lost my mom. When there is a problem in my life I can’t talk to her about it and that is painful.

I’ve been thinking about the connections between mothers and their children. And I’ve been writing and sketching in my journal about that invisible cord of love that begins in the womb and extends forever. I will never stop loving my children and my mom will always love me. And that is worth all of the joy and pain as we journey together, connected by that invisible cord we call love.

Rough sketch from my journal of a mat design – Invisible Cord of Love