Motherhood is such a hard thing to pin down. I feel like I'm failing daily at teaching my kids how to be responsible, compassionate people. Now that they are older its a lot of communicating about schedules, plans, and school.
Last night at 8:30 pm my daughter informs me that she signed up to bring brownies to school the next day. My first response..."sorry its bedtime". My brain shuts off at 8 pm, so anything that requires me to have a conversation or do anything productive is out of the question. But I did have a cup of coffee in the afternoon, my daughter is capable of following a recipe, and I did have all the ingredients, so I said we could make them.
Soon after we started putting the ingredients together she started talking about September 11 and what her teachers have told her of their experience. We've had conversations about 9/11 in the past but this time I could tell it was different. She is at an age where she understands the pain of something so horrific. She wanted to know how people could forget and not talk about it as much.
I will never forget that day. I was 24 & newly married. I remember the dream I had the night before, the drive to work on that cool morning with clear blue skies. Somehow I had decided to turn off the radio in my car about one minute before the first tower was struck. The details are vivid and I share with her what my day was like and that we had no idea what our world would look like in the coming days months.
This is what struck me. Here I was 18 years later in my kitchen making brownies with my 14 yr old. I could have never imagined on that fateful day what life would be like. And yes I mess up everyday. But I was reminded of what Ruth Chou Simmons says about motherhood. She says motherhood is sanctifying, it sets us apart, it blesses us, it redeems us.
We look at the clock and its 9:11 pm on the eve of 9/11 and we look at each other and I have this moment of clarity, this connection point. I remind her that we never forget, but that time heals, and life moves on.
I've never thought of my motherhood in the framework of the events of 9/11, but I stop and imagine where life might be in the next 18 years. My children will be grown and possibly have children of their own.
I can't control what is to come today or tomorrow but if I can keep making connections with my daughter and my son, then I believe they will carry these moments with them into their life and when they are having heart to heart conversations with their children and answering life's questions that they too will find serendipity in the moment.
We can't force these things. Motherhood is more about being available than it is about making plans. Maybe you connect over making brownies on a Tuesday night, or when you are in the car driving them to the 10th activity of the week, maybe it's when you are in the library looking at books or at Target. I can't say, but what I will say is just be in the moment, be grateful, write it down in your journal so your daughter can read it in the distant future.
Time heals, life moves on and we have these little connecting points that are making a life for us and for them.