Nothing Gold Can Stay: Colors of Motherhood
Shopping for birthday party supplies, I pick up thank you notes, fairly confident my silly choices will be appreciated. Nope. “Mama, I can’t use these. People judge you on your birthday party, Mama. Please. I just can’t.” I know better than to buy my kiddo clothes without his input. I now know this applies to stationery, as well. Both his mortification and his apology are heartfelt. So with receipt, embarrassing cards, and his chosen, unremarkable, replacement cards in hand, we approach the store’s customer service counter together. I point out the opportunity to learn the exchange process. Along with it, I hope he also learns he can trust me to help him navigate the social obstacle course of adolescence.
Yup, the awkward years are upon us. Almost. As my hubby quips, our kiddo hasn’t left the Garden of Eden yet, but he’s looking over the fence. He’s sprouting hairs and self-consciousness in places where neither existed previously. Outwardly at least, I’m becoming the embodiment of embarrassment rather than the very definition of comfort and safety. Gone are the days of dramatically drawn out drop-offs at birthday parties or camp. Now, if he turns back at all, it’s to scowl and point, body language bellowing, “leave. Don’t watch me!”
Those thank you cards laid bare a truth I’ve known in my heart for months, but was not ready to acknowledge in my head; the time has come to put down this pen, at least for a while. At his age, it feels invasive reveal his successes and struggles in order to illustrate my own. While the predictable unpredictability of the ‘tween may in fact provide more material, not less, they are not my stories to share. It becomes harder and harder to tell my story in meaningful ways without disclosing details of his.
For the past five years, the discipline of this column has been a gift. This external commitment has helped me to keep my internal intention to pause, reflect, and connect my yoga and mindfulness practices to life in the kitchen and carpool and playground and grocery line. To life off the mat.
Tears brim as I type this truth. The depth of grief reveals itself to be not just about a writing project, a creative outlet anchored by a monthly deadline. I grieve the end of his childhood. Of this phase of motherhood. Gone, thankfully, are the changing tables and car seats. Gone too is the adoration. The pure, unquestionable sense of being loved beyond measure. Of being treasured. Of being the center of someone’s world.
Each spring, as pale color returns to shade the woods and fields around us, a dear friend quotes Frost’s line; nothing gold can stay. Last week, curious about the full verse, I Googled it. I’ll admit, I hadn’t realized it was Frost. I’m sure I knew at some point, ninth grade English, most likely. And it hits me, walking as I do regularly on part of the trail named for him, Frost may have been gazing on these same mountains, same fields, on the spring mornings that inspired the verse.
Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
As May’s gold turns to June’s green,
As we put the wraps on another school year,
As constant change continues, despite our deepest desires to pause time,
I offer my gratitude for this opportunity to share the depths of color and challenge in motherhood.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Pain specialist, yoga instructor, and Reiki practitioner Ginny Hamilton teaches simple & proven techniques to release pain & restore energy in the workplace, group classes & private sessions. She has put down roots in South Amherst with her spouse and young son. Daily she’s amazed by the beauty the Pioneer Valley offers, though her allergies beg to differ. In Off the Mat, Ginny explores how yoga’s physical and mindfulness exercises help her parent and how parenting shapes her yoga practice. http://www.ginnyhamilton.com