I arrived at my parents' house close to midnight last night after driving from my graduate school class in Jersey City. My octogenarian parents were in their pajamas in the family room, waiting up for me, even though I told them they could leave the back door open and I could slip in. They turned off the television and my mom served us all milk and cookies.
We talked for nearly an hour, me sharing my tales from this fall's teaching, and they shared a story about one of their nine grandchildren, who recently found an excellent solution to a struggle.
I was settling into this four-poster bed in the upstairs guest room, when my mom knocked on the door. She told me she wanted to add a few details to her story. But first, she spied the purple gym bag, which I was using as my overnight bag, on the floor by the bed. "Be sure not to trip on that if you get up in the middle of the night." "Oh, I won't," I answered. Without a word she moved the bag to the chest at the foot of the bed and continued telling her story.
I'm nearly 52 years old, long past the time when I need anyone to pour me a class of milk, serve me cookies on a plate or move a gym bag out of the way. Her gestures remind me that no matter how old our children become, we are always their mothers. This thought comforts me, both as a daughter, and as the mother of nearly grown children.
Mother-love is a powerful force and it will journey with our children long after we disappear back into the Mystery.