Magazine article The Christian Century

Mother Love

Magazine article The Christian Century

Mother Love

Article excerpt

Dear Mom: On this Mother's Day when I am an almost mother, I wanted to let you know how much I appreciate you for being my mother. I realize now that no one can really understand the bond a mother feels with her child except another mother. Not even the child, as much as she may love her mother, can understand.

As I feel the baby inside me now, I imagine how you must have felt feeling me move and grow stronger, imagining what I might look like or what I might become. Also, as I worry about our baby (everything from whether he'll be healthy to how to raise him as a good person), I realize all the worries I must have given you. I want to thank you for raising me well and for continuing to love and support me through the years.

Have a Happy Mother's Day! I love you!--Anne.

Reading this note in the hubbub of a restaurant, I could not be gladder that, 31 years ago and without much heed for the consequences, I committed myself to motherhood.

When Anne was born I was nearly ten years younger than she is now, and although I surely worried about her health, I doubt that I knew enough to have qualms about her goodness. One quality conferred by a Calvinist upbringing in a village on the north shore of Massachusetts in the 1950s was a confidence, perhaps even a conviction, that rectitude was something of a birthright. As long as a man worked steadily at the managerial or professional level and returned home every evening to a spotless house and a hot meal and two scrubbed children ready for a night-night kiss; as long as a woman confined her out-of-the-house activities to service and social clubs with other like-minded women; as long as the children attended school regularly, joined the Scouts, didn't go "parking" and get each other "in trouble" (or, if they did, married quickly and quietly); as long as the family, unbroken by divorce, showed up at the large white Congregational church on the village green every Sunday--they were all, as a matter of course, the right kind of people.

Such a setting, snug but also smug, where good was something you were (or weren't), not something you did, fostered an almost ludicrous naivete. My idea of living on the edge entailed a visit to my aunt's house in Boston, where some of the guests might wear long black stockings and write poetry. …

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