The Equinox Makes It Keener

Post Date: September 22nd, 2013


Between my kitchen and family room is a three-foot-square opening. There is a shelf on the ledge of this opening and I keep a couple of plants on it. One is a peace plant rooted in an aqua pot painted with butterflies.

The other is a sky-blue glass vase in the shape of a cradle. It has a wind-up on the bottom which when turned plays a lullaby. It is planted with ivy.

My father-in-law gave it to my mother-in-law when she became a mother. She saved it for when her son’s wife became a mother. I immediately loved the gift. I plan to give it to my daughter when she becomes a mother to continue the vase’s lineage.

I’ve looked at it every day and often felt its sweetness. During these many years the sturdy ivy has thrived.

But something insidiously happened to it. It has slowly been losing its leaves. Yesterday afternoon it occurred to me that it is not coming back.

I immediately thought of my daughter and the imminent move to a new home. She is not coming back.

I of course know this and applaud the upcoming independence. But this mental knowledge did not assuage my sad ache while looking at the ivy.

The equinox makes it all the keener. The beginning of the dark months of the year; the ever closing aperture of light in the evening. Already I feel the aloneness of too much darkness.

I muse about
                            The immediate
                            intimacy between a
                            mother and daughter

I keep thinking of ways to help my daughter and her husband with the move. Which is followed shortly by reminding myself that this is their move and they don’t need me overseeing it. Now I realize this kind of thinking is my need to keep the apron strings tied. I am shocked at myself.

How can this be so difficult? They will be living just a mile away. But it’s a permanent shift and my feelings force me to acknowledge this despite my best efforts to suppress them with a flurry of nurturing activities.

The last time I felt the pain of separation was the second time we visited her after she moved into her dorm room at the University of Maryland. During the initial move I was excited for the adventure that awaited her.

When we returned just ten days later for her birthday, the new state of separation hit me in the solar plexus. I cried inconsolably as I realized I had birthed her again but not to my waiting arms.

                            Archetypal maternal pain:
                            birthing my daughter
                            to the wide world
                                                      Sept. 2004

My current sorrow is deep and heavy, and, oddly, not amenable to tears. It is at once inexplicable and understandable. As I bear it, I may need to put away the nearly empty cradle. And figuratively plant some autumn bulbs to greet me with a new perspective at the next equinox, if not sooner.