In gratitude for a joyful week of Advent several years ago
when I learned that I would be a mother,
and counting down the days to celebrate a blessed night
when a strong woman labored
in a strange and dirty place
to birth into this world
a small, screaming son of God,
I give you
one of the best poems about motherhood that I have ever found:
the decidedly un-mushy yet still love-soaked, often-maddening and always-mysterious reality that is raising a child.
I discovered this poem in The New Yorker when I was living in France, and among all the gems I mined from my parents’ back issues lovingly sent to me by my own mother, this one remains a favorite: A Blessing From My Sixteen Years’ Son by Mary Karr.
(You can read it here, along with fascinating remarks from the poet, including her take on conversion to Catholicism.)
“Inside, he was a raw pearl: microscopic, luminous.
Look at the muscled obelisk of him now”
Mother to child, Mary to Christ. The wonder at the gift and the marvel at the growing.
When I first read this poem, I thought, I hope I have a son like that someday.
Now, at the very beginning of this journey, I humbly hope I’ll be a mother like this, too.