Women Folk

I really saw clearly, and for the first time, why a mother is really important. Not just because she feeds and also loves and cuddles and even mollycoddles a child, but because in an interesting and maybe an eerie and unworldly way, she stands in the gap. She stands between the unknown and the known. Maya Angelou, American author/poet from Mom & Me & Mom

On the 9:39 MetroNorth train out of New Haven. Every other Saturday I take a train to see my Dad a couple of hours away. This trip is always welcome. My dad and I chat and have lunch and visit the cemetery leaving flowers and a moment of our time with my mother. We fill a void for each other of time once filled by Gracie. This trip to my hometown always tethers me to my childhood and the family tapestry.

There are three women sitting directly to my right and the one closest to the window on the far side, while I can’t see her face — I can see her hands. She has a bobble of jewelry on her wrist and perfectly manicured nails, just like Gracie did when she was going on an outing. And a handbag to match her shoes displaying a beautiful pedicure. Blond hairstyle just right. And her sunglasses to fashion perfection. How we are reminded of our mothers arrives in subtle and unexpected ways. Today my momma is on this train with me. Today and everyday.

My goddaughter Jenna became a new mom one month ago. With her living out on the West Coast, we enjoyed waiting for her baby girl in the weeks and months before in group chats and messages. Finally, newborn baby photos on Instagram pulled all of us into the excitement for a new member of the family.

Being a new mom is filled with challenges and worries and mysteries. May her momma instinct guide her, allowing her to find what she needs from her own reservoir. I wish her to carve out a little space of her own. Turn a pantry into a private sanctuary. A little closet into a harbor. A vital space to reenergize, recalibrate, recuperate. To just be.

Women folk from the Old West sat in gathering circles, hands always at work, to quilt, mend and knit. But more than the work, was the bonding and sharing and listening. Listening above all. Ahhh, just to be heard and understood. To receive energy and to build trust. Of the women on our journeys—mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts, friends… everyone matters and we must carry them always. As they will carry us.

In memory of my mother, Grace~1936-2017


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