Nine colleges, seven days, three cities, three trains, two planes, one bus, and countless cabs later I am home in time for the annual marking of mothers’ contributions to our lives. Most of these manifest themselves as memories. Maternal action takes place in a sleep-deprived mental space motivated by love and fueled by adrenaline similar to a globe-trotter’s frenzied fog.
From final push to first words, a mother experiences her baby with little sleep and infinite love. The bond defines visceral. Shared blood courses through mother’s and child’s veins. Mother’s body expends its energy to make the milk that feeds the babe: love lived.
During last week’s travels I returned to the medieval town where I met and married my husband. I wrote my parents on my first day that while I was wet, tired, and hungry, I had never been happier. Jet lag, then as now, failed to diminish my sense that I had arrived somewhere special. Through the stress and fatigue of my meetings, that scintillation endured. I slept on the bus despite reeling around the roundabouts and could barely string a sentence together to talk to my men in the wee hours.
My colleagues and I have dispersed to our houses, bonded not by a ‘retreat’ but by our victorious advance. We nurtured hopes and spawned plans not that different from new parents’ dreams for their brood. Our ideas, like our children, will grow to take very different form from what we now expect. We’ll work with them in exhausted excitement and look back on the experience with love.