crying on my mama

It's almost Mother's Day, and I'm thinking about a day several months ago. It was not a bad day. It was packed full, though.

Not full of meetings or appointments, but full of small work projects to finalize things that have been hanging open for too long. Tedious things. Reviewing the CPA's financial statements draft to sort out issues and discrepancies. Dealing with a wayward check to an independent contractor that affected whether his 1099 was correct. Calendaring the projects for the next few months and seeing where the logjams would be.

And since my work that day was for an organization where I'm the leader, I had to sort and answer a lot of questions. I decided 37 little sticky issues, and I answered questions or reached out to find answers about at least 3 much larger challenges.

None of this was bad. There was just an extra lot of it.

By the time I got home, I was emotionally, mentally, even physically worn out. My mom was staying with our daughter at our house, and when I walked in the door, she said, "You look tired, baby."

I pre-heated the oven and started getting out the food to warm up for dinner. And I saw when I opened the fridge that my mom had made chicken salad and brought us some. I was so grateful, and somehow that just did it.

I stopped heating up dinner, and I came into the den, and I sat on the couch beside my mama, and I laid my head in her lap, and she put her arm around me, and I cried silently while my daughter listened to music.

My daughter said, "What are you doing, Mama?" My mother said, "She's resting on Grandma." I said, "Not quite. I'm not resting on Grandma. I'm resting on Mama. My mama."

I was worn out, and I snuggled up to my mother to cry. I am 42 years old.

Not everyone has the kind of mother they've ever been able to snuggle up to and feel safer or warmer or just held suspended in love for a few minutes. Maybe you never had that. I am lucky.

Eventually mothers die, and my mother is still here and active and herself. Maybe your mother is gone now. Again, I am lucky. 

Often, it's me who gets to be the mother who is there for my own daughter when she wants to feel safer or warmer or suspended in love. Yet again: lucky.

Mother or not, if you have someone you could snuggle up to and cry for a bit--your mom, your dad, your sibling, your friend, your cousin, your partner--if you have someone who can hold that kind of space for you, especially while you're touching in some way, say yes to that.

It's okay that you're 30 or 40 or 50 or 60 or 70 or 80 years old and crying in someone's lap. It's okay that you're letting someone see that you don't have it all together all the time. It's okay that you don't have anything specific or too many things that are too specific that you're crying about. All of this is okay.

It can be a great relief to essentially say, "I am exhausted and in some moments I think I have no idea what the fuck I am doing."

You hold that kind of space for at least one someone, don't you? I bet you do.

It is good to hold space for someone, and it is also good to say yes to that space when you need it for yourself. This is part of loving. Part of letting go. Part of what is essential about being human.

I love you, and you are not alone.