Monday, May 10, 2010
For our Birth Mother, the day after Mother's Day:
It was rainy season, so she walked an hour to meet us, slippers sinking into the mud to suck and slap with each careful step. She was wearing ceremonial white, hiding a jaw set to absorb loss under a gauzy shawl. For fifteen minutes we would share a table and a few words. Words of respect and promise exchanged for dreams and aspirations filtered through a translator. Damn it, I thought. I think we are the same age, opened our eyes to this earth the same day but in different worlds. Mine opened to hold a pen and a hand as I crossed the street to school. Hers opened to receive the ageless tools of farming and a baby before her fifteenth birthday. And now our hands meet in an embrace that will transfer the sacred word ‘Mother’ from one breast to another. Damn it, I thought.
I think of her everyday, and dream of our next meeting, after the rainy season. Where she brings the older children who defied Malaria and I bring the younger ones who came by plane. In my mind I beg her to endure like the land. To move with speed and outrun the hyena. To stand with the strength of the high stone mountains. To put motion and stillness together in the dance that will ward off the statistics of life expectancy and the harsh realities of coffee beans and chat grown without water in agonizing years of drought. Please. Please. We need to meet again. To exchange at least once more the words of hope and dreams come true. To stand together under a hot and blinding sun and watch, as mothers do, our children playing, flashing their teeth and flexing their muscles.
"But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." Isaiah 40:31