Wednesday, January 23, 2013


I'm wearing a path through my heart's middle these days ... vacillating between worlds in a dance that has no set steps. There is only a song that warbles on top of the chill air, pulling me one way, then another.

There is now and its two boys and all that this demands of me.

And love ... more love than I think I might have to give. Love that dives below the surface tension of now and pulls me into the deep places heavy with night and shadows. Love that believes before it doubts. Love that circles seventy times seven. Love unbroken.

And then there is a crossing over ...
and I am there, at my own mother's bedside
stroking her brow
kissing her cheek
framing her face in my hands
as if our hearts flipped in the night's chill and now I am mothering the mother.

On either side of me stand my two boys, warm from the car ride and woozy with sleep and before me
is my mother, hands clasped together for warmth, purple knitted shawl slipping from her shoulders.

And I hang for a millisecond, suspended between the role of mother and that of daughter,
until the tightrope snaps
and I free fall

It is not until I land plumb in the middle of love that I discover it is simply the keeping of hearts to which I am called.

So the next day looks like a turning and a circling, over and over.

My stout sons are hungry, so hungry, and I parcel out first and second breakfasts and then whine that they are having too much screen time even as I turn my back and pretend the opposite. It's only for today, I whisper into the ether, not sure if I am confessing or hoping.

And then comes the swelling worry, wrapped in fever and fatigue, taking up residence in my mother's slight and wispy body. She is not prepared for this new battle. She has already been fighting a mutant army and it has been marching through her blood, pillaging her energy and vigor and she is tired.
So tired.

So I push for answers and advocate for truth and a hazy cognizance swirls around deep inside as I begin to see how she has championed the same for me, time and time again. That from the moment I was flesh and blood in her arms I became her cause and she has never stopped fighting for me. For my joy ... for my dreams ... for my life.

And when I wonder at what point I became equipped for such a time as this, when I realize that I must be all of that for her, it is then that I realize that a Mother is a life force. As long as babies are born and mothers are made, whether by blood or decree, a creative force is unleashed in the world and things are never the same.

I will never be the same.

My desire to nurture and sustain those entrusted to my care need no longer discern mother from child. All of it is a dance, a grand swinging, a twirling of tendrilous hearts.

To mother, to be mothered, all is birthed from Love embedded deep and long and wide.

And at the end of the day, I pull back the crazy quilt spread across the bed and crawl in next to my mom, my boys at my heels, all of us falling


  1. You wear the word Mother well Holly. This is so very touching.

  2. oh, sweet friend. this prompt, 'mother', is so timely for you right now, isn't it?
    this piece. it just soars and sings and mourns and weeps and pulls tight the angst and the lines of worry. BUT it carries relief with it, too, this love -- this head over heart over feet love. Love that keeps saving us.
    a beautiful piece of your heart.

  3. Tara_pohlkottepressJanuary 23, 2013 at 6:56 PM

    "as if our hearts flipped in the night's chill and now I am mothering the mother." oh, holly. this is so beautiful in its ache. in its understanding of love. i am going through a season of mothering to my own mother too, although different circumstances, and to know we are placed there with purpose. for one who taught me the role... so humbling. beautiful write {as always}.

  4. This is a gorgeous piece of piece of writing. Truth runs deeply through it.

  5. Oh Holly.

    "It is not until I land plum in the middle of love that I discover it is simply the keeping of hearts to which I am called."

    The keeping of hearts. Indeed.

  6. Dear Holly
    Your memories and praise for your mom touches my heart. Today's word at Emily's was difficult for me to write about for I never had this kind of relationship with my mom. Thanks for allowing me to share in yours.
    Much love

  7. Lovely. "My desire to nurture and sustain those entrusted to my care need no longer discern mother from child." Met me where I am today. Thx.

  8. dramaticelegance1009January 24, 2013 at 11:06 AM

    the keeping of hearts to which i am called...BEAUTIFUL.

    visiting from dear emily's place today.

  9. Oh Lord, Jesus. Wow, Holly this is so beautiful. The tears fill my eyes with your expression of how your mother has tended your very life. This circling of love that is not about definitions and roles but the tender and strong and courageous call of those in Christ -- to love. Wow. And this line: "It is not until I land plumb in the middle of love that I discover it is simply the keeping of hearts to which I am called."

  10. Thank you, Shelly. I had the best of models, that is for sure.

  11. Timely, indeed. Knowing the prompt for this week as I faced my mother's illness these last few days seemed to actually give me an unknown strength, although innate and flowing. Love is such a complicated, marvelous, difficult, wondrous thing, is it not?

  12. "Love-transfusion" --that is beautiful, friend. And isn't that what we all are doing all the time? Taking and giving, keeping and sharing. Oh to love as He first loved...

  13. Thank you, Jo. I am still meditating on that line, myself, and what it really means for me and my life.

  14. Tara, I pray that your season of "mothering the mother" will be an opportunity to grow into all that you were created to be. It's kind of like playing dress up with our mother's clothes only, this time, the clothes actually fit. Thank you for speaking into my heart, here and at your place.

  15. Cara,
    As I shared with Jo, below, that line is still echoing in my very core, too. Praying that the Holy Spirit will breathe wisdom and insight into that call.

  16. Thank you so much for your kind words, Danelle. And, yes, it is a dance. Always.

  17. Nicole,
    I am so grateful for your presence in this space and I am rejoicing with all of heaven that these words meant something for you, even if just for today. You are always welcome here.

  18. Thank you so much for visiting and for your kind words.

  19. Ashley, I can't tell you how deeply my soul trilled when I realized that the very life tending that I do for my own sons is no different than what my dear mother has done for me...ALL.THIS.TIME. It is still twisting and twirling in the very center of me.

  20. Oh,My.Gosh, Holly. This is stunning. Just amazing. Thank you, thank you. I am so sorry for your mother's health struggles - and so sorry that you are being called on as caregiver when you are both so young. Prayers for you all as you continue to find your way. Wow.

  21. Thank you, Diana. I'm so very glad to report that my mom is slowly getting better. She is fighting pneumonia on top of her leukemia so it is no small thing, for sure BUT the antibiotics are working (so far) and she is gaining back some strength. Glory!

  22. My long comment erased....but I wanted to say thank you from this stepmama who lost her beloved mama six years ago. I, too am poet finding solace in words. I don't know the details of your mother's illness, but I do pray healing is found. Thank you for the blessing of your words. I stumbled here looking into the adagio project and was so happy to find such beautiful mother-love. Peace to you.

  23. oh my dear holly. this plunges me back into the days of caregiving for my mum. one of the hardest callings, isn't it? to mother our own mother? but how beautifully you do it. the purple shaw... the crawling into bed with her. and your sons too. this, is family. love you.

  24. This is so freakin gorgeous, I've lost all eloquence. Damn girl, you can write.