Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Half Empty Half Full

In the dark of night I wake up wondering whether my nest is half full or half empty. This nest I’ve feathered and re-feathered for 20 years with an abundance and ambivalence of love, soft place to land for my girl-children who filled up the nest with their silk scarves, ribbons, and battered baby dolls, their jelly shoes, and spangled headbands, OPI nail polishes, zit concealer, razors, tampons, crumpled school notes, rogue, earrings and socks and borrowed sweats, bathing suits, goggles, fins, schoolbooks, and fat copies of every edition of Harry Potter and Twilight…this nest …is missing one of four who inhabited it…leaving three of us behind and one of the three, in so many ways, her other half.

She had the audacity to grow up and want to go to college. So she did. And like most stoic mother birds, when it was time, I knew it was time. And in spite of a few secretly shed tears,I know the privilege and relative safety of her flight plan. I know too, that this is only one of many phases of leave-taking that began with her first steps away from me in the departing flights corridor of the Raleigh/Durham airport 18 years ago. Then she ran in her tiny red leather shoes with abandon, uncanny coordination and sense of sureness before she was 1. She’s still in possession of those qualities. I know she’ll be back soon.

In the presence of all of her left behind stuff and silence, I feel the absence of her. In the absence of her, I feel the presence, to a celebratory degree, of her younger sister. So it goes. My nest is half empty and certainly half full. Life these days is half as noisy, half as full of teenagers, half as worried at midnight.

But I wake to the sound of half as many children in my house and the sound of my middle aged mother's heart beating the rhythm of love and loss and the promise of birdsong in the morning.
Beth Lodge-Rigal 11.20.09

1 comment:

  1. Hmmm...per usual, I am somewhat speechless at how you capture this mother thing that is known and unknown for me.