After forty years, we’ve made it.
We’re friends. Real friends.
I like you, and you like me.
You’re almost 70, I’m pushing 40,
and we try to find moments away
from our husbands, from my kids
and all the chores in both our houses
left undone without us.
We steal time alone together,
parsing out our days, our troubles,
sharing how easily our fingernails
break, how we tame our hair,
how we can help the one in our
family most suffering right now.
How have we found this place?
After years of disconnecting and
connecting, fights and resolutions,
I wonder if the change is because
I understand, now that I’m a mother,
why you gave everything
the way you did.
For years I thought you gave so much
because you were weak, a martyr,
too willing to help others
but never yourself. I was wrong.
You gave because you were, to the core,
A Mother. You nourished us all,
steered the ship, showed us the way,
then let us think we’d gotten
there all on our own.
During your last visit,
I watched you lean over my
daughter, tell her about birds
and migration, and the sight was
far more beautiful than any wild
or rare animal at the zoo.
We live thousands of miles apart,
connected by phones and computers
and the occasional handwritten letter.
But there’s a string in me,
a 2446-mile-long invisible thread
that will always, always
be connected to you.
Each year, we migrate back to each other,
warm ourselves, sip hot coffee and
pad around in our robes and slippers.
We are not getting younger. Some day
one of us, both of us, will be gone.
But let’s do what we do, and not think
about that now. Let’s pull the weeds,
water the plants, make the dinner,
pour the white wine over ice,
and celebrate our arrival
at this beautiful place.
Both of us leading the flock
with love and humility and generosity.
Mother and Daughter,
now Mother and Mother.