Reflection of a mother

I see a mother in a big cosy bed, her little ones clambering over her like puppies, all tousle-haired from sleep. What a pretty picture of family life.

I see the mother. But I do not see her as she is. I see the teenager with forty pounds and a double chin added. Oh how she hates that double chin, it is all she sees in every picture of mothering bliss, the sharp jaw line of youth lost to cake and age. And a grey streak in the hair, oh how she struggles with the social meaning of that streak, not the soul meaning, it is moonlight, silver star shine, a blessing brought early by age and wisdom, why does everyone else hide theirs and pretend they are still 21? What was so great about 21 anyway? The uncertainty, the anticipation, the insecurity of youth, embarking on a journey, unbridled and unclear as to her destination or even who is sailing the ship of her body and soul.

She sees the weight around the face, the circles under the eyes that sing of her lack of sleep. Her belly is covered in silver grey lines: ley lines, love lines that heralded hidden mysteries beneath the barrow mound. The fertile hillocks of belly and breast, once full and round, now deflated balloons sad at the loss of their precious cargo.

When out with these children she thinks she is only a couple of years older than the ten-year-olds she passes kicking a ball on the grass. They must not know that these are her children, they must think she is the babysitter. Her own primary school years were but a heartbeat away to her, not two decades or more.

She cannot see the mother that she is. She sees pictures of her holding her children, but she cannot see what she feels in her bones, the cellular changes which motherhood wrought on her body and soul, they are invisible in her mirror image. She looks no longer like herself, but she does not look like she feels.

Who is this mother, this person in the mirror. It is not me, is it?

  1. Anonymous
    Anonymous12-20-2010

    This is beautifully written and unbelievably apt, I’m sure, for every mother reading it. I think we can all relate to every word you said and all the feelings you desbribe. It brought a tear to my eye! Why? Im not sure, sadness of what used to be? youth now becoming a distant memory but so near sometimes I can still almost touch it! I look at myself sometimes and think is this me, a mother, a wife, a homemaker! When did this happen! Also a tear of joy and happiness at what/who I am now, what I have achieved & become, two beautiful children I have produced to love & cherish.

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