I have suddenly started to think about something I've never really considered before: What would it have been like to have had the companionship and guidance, the shelter and enthusiasm, of a mother, when . . .
I started high school, had my first date, struggled with geometry, looked for my first job, went to prom, wondered what to do next . . .
Chose a college, transferred between colleges, started thinking about marriage, decided to go to law school, got married, went to law school, had my first encounter with sexism in the workplace, passed the bar exam, got my first legal job, bought a house, changed jobs, wondered what to do next . . .
Found a church, couldn't get pregnant, got pregnant, bought a new house, threw up all day all night for seven months, had three babies in three years, quit working as a lawyer, had a husband who traveled for days and weeks at a time, decided about schooling for children, went back to work, helped lots of people get divorced, changed churches, wondered and wondered and wondered what to do next . . .
Helped each of three beloved children through major life challenges, went to seminary, became a spiritual director, graduated from seminary . . .
Lost a child.
I'm pretty sure, because I know what I would be doing for my daughter if she were in my circumstances, what it would look like.
But what does it feel like?
In three weeks it will be fifty years since my mother and brother died, in an era and a family in which people picked themselves up and brushed themselves off and didn't ask how it might have been different.
So now I'm asking.
What is it like, to be 15 or 25 or 50, to be starting a new thing or burying a child, and have a mother? What has been the best thing for you about being the daughter or son of a mother?