Island Blog – To be a Mother and Saying Farewell

An eclectic role for sure, if such is possible and if say it is then it is. Although I’m about to lose a lot in the translation of such a word, let me play. When a woman becomes a mother she is about as lost as a goldfish in the ocean, barely able to breathe, exhausted and completely lost. She finds no others of her species, everyone else being salt-friendly and busy. However, with this new little one, she knows that it is she who must be eclectically “IT’ for……for….where did he go? Oh, there he is over there, chuffing away to a sea snail who is not all that interested, and if he was it would take him at least three days to turn around for a look. She hasn’t got three days to spare. She is on demand every moment of every day plus seconds of panic, of despair, of constant checking. She is wild now, thinking wide, way beyond her understanding of normal thinks, and nobody, not even dad, gets anywhere near even if he or they might have an awfully good suggestion. She is all Bugger Off and tail swipes. She is deadly. She is Mother.

When she considered this Mother thingy, she might be forgiven for thinking Disney. However, Disney was obviously never a mother. The sweet glory of an instant co-ordination between mother and child is, I am sorry to tell you, a load of tripe. This baby is everywhere but where he should be. This baby shrieks loud enough to call in the Whales and upset the Navy in their sonar missions. What is this? Naval Officer Jenkins might ask, his eyebrows lost in his fringe, quizzical and holding out the ear plug thing for his upline to hear. The whales, happily traversing 35 continents via the swirl and twist of oceans, stop and founder. Let me tell you, a founder among traversing whales can cause a tsunami 10,000 miles away, upsetting fisher boats and slopping Lady Merriweather’s gin all over the Captain of a luxury cruise ship, thus informing him that she is a secret drunk and that his trousers are in an embarrassing state. The butterfly effect, sort of.

This day my firstborn, taller than me by about half a mile, left again for his next shift as ship’s Captain and no matter his age and height, I am that goldfish mama again. When he is here, everything is wild again, everything is fun, anything is possible. His attitude to life is upbeat and can-do. I wonder who taught him that. Does he remember upsetting the Navy, the fishing boats and the whales with his baby screams, or me with his curiosity? I doubt it. But I remember. And now, when he is gone I go back there, back into that ocean, back to where it all began. Tomorrow another son departs and I swirl inside the loss of them even as I know I gain more just because I am their mother; because I am the only one they will ever have; because I have the memories of this shared time and those memories are enough, have to be enough.

It isn’t that I want to be ‘IT’ anymore. I don’t, but don’ting doesn’t stop the feelings, doesn’t weaken the bond. I never knew it would be like this. I doubt any mother does. But here it is and for us all. Confounded still, up and down with the whole gamut of role changing at every level all day and well into the darkling nights, still learning, still thinking eclectically, I am at the heart, a mother and one who will never not be. Not never. And, for all the sadness at saying farewell, it is enough. It has to be.