I once learned to stop looking at the years and the seasons as one continual line but rather a circle. Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall and back to Winter again. That one is easy to visualize, it is a cycle and we experience it every year. Funny how being raised on a tropical island I did not get that at all as the seasonal changes were very mild. Only because I have lived in the northern hemisphere long enough, I can see the circular motion of the seasons. What I did not get was how to look at life in a circular pattern. I think I’m getting it now. I feel like I have come to a crossroads which seems new and at the same time it is also familiar.
I once was simply a daughter. Now I am a daughter and a mother. It’s full circle and sometimes it bites. I am both looking at who I was in the past and who I am at the present time, all of it, the good, the bad and the ugly. It does not have to be neat. Just worthy of reflection. As a youth minister I once knew would say “I used to be where you are and one day you’ll be where I am.” That sounds like a life cycle to me. We used to laugh at him. I am not laughing anymore.
I reflected on these things on Mother’s Day. It was a cross between bitter and sweet because I looked at my youth and childhood with a sense of loss. And yet the sweet part is how much more I know today. The wisdom that life experiences afford you cannot be obtained in pure ignorance. You can’t cheat your way forward by buying it or getting a diploma in the finest of schools. You have to experience the cycle. And look back to see what you have attained, how far you have come, how often you fell and failed and got back up again. It’s hard earned wisdom and you cannot borrow it from someone else.
The bitter sweetness of life’s cycles is meant to be experienced. Even if it is bound to be bitter in your stomach, at least it is first sweet in your mouth. Still, it is a growing up and growing old benefit.
I took the day completely off yesterday. So, to all the mothers I know, Happy (belated) Mother’s Day!