Saturday, June 6, 2009

Out of the Mouths of Teenagers

Being a full-time mother for nearly twenty-two years has taken my life through a constant maze of both confidence and apprehension.  Some days I feel as if I am almost getting this job right, and then the next day will be wrought with some unexpected hormonal crisis(theirs or sometimes mine, if I am to be honest) which will set me off-balance for a short while.  Like no other job in the world, motherhood will humble you down to the soles of your feet or lift you up higher than the ever-present mommy clip that you use to keep your hair from getting in your eyes.  It's just never certain when the highs or lows will occur, or what might send your heart reeling with absolute emotion.

A few days ago, my littlest Angel Daughter called me on the phone when she was at home and I was still at our beach house.  We talked and laughed in only the way that mothers and daughters can, and then she told me that she had written another poem.  This young girl, with the dancing spirit, can also write the most heartfelt and honest poems that I have ever encountered from someone so young.  At fifteen, a very difficult age for most, Angel Daughter Number Four expresses herself through both movement and word.  My father, her pop-pop, used to call her "the great observer" because as the youngest of four daughters, she would sit quietly absorbing everything that was going on around her.  She observed for quite some time and then she began using what she took in to become an outgoing and unique spirit.  In the past several years, I have watched this little girl grow into an amazing young lady who is wise beyond her fifteen years.  Yet, she is still a very typical fifteen year old who must assert her upcoming independence by letting her dad and I know that she is growing up.

So, as AD4 told me about her poem, she set it up by recalling a memory that had popped into her mind.  When our girls were younger and they were preparing, one after the other, to become a Bat Mitzvah, each one had to go through years of study in order to reach this joyous milestone.  As a result, we spent a lot of time in synagogue both on holidays and for Friday night Sabbath services.  It was a very cozy time in our lives when the girls were still young and family took precedence over all else.  For me, those years were more about the feelings that being a close family unit evoked, and not so much about the words.  And yet, I am sometimes awed by the descriptions that my Angel Daughters can attach to a certain memory.  AD4 asked me if I recalled how she would often lean up against my body during temple services.  She then told me that as she would rest up against my body, she would listen to my voice as it reverberated throughout my body and into hers.  Like in many religious services, the leader(in our case the rabbi or the cantor) prays or sings while the congregation participates by also praying or singing out loud.  AD4 described to me how my praying voice was something that she enjoyed listening to because it was very different from my "regular" voice.  As she described her experience to me, I got chills.  So many thoughts raced through my heart and my mind.  I wondered if the voice that she had leaned up against me to hear in synagogue to pray, was somehow the voice that she had remembered from a much earlier time.  A time when she was snugly ensconced so safely within my womb.  Could every word have sounded like a prayer to her?
As she read her poem to me, it was like a prayer reverberating throughout her body and into mine.  It wasn't so much the words that I heard(although they were beautiful), but the voice that she used when she spoke them to me.

Three of my youngest Angels are well into their teen years now.  My oldest is going to be twenty-two in about three weeks.  As they continue to grow up into the beautiful young women that they will be, I hope to hear more of their feelings put into words.  I understand that I have several more uncertain years as my girls continue to strive for independence fostered out of interdependence.  But as I continue on my journey through the maze of motherhood, I will try to remember that sometimes words actually sound like prayers when they are coming from a place that is rooted and deep and strange, but familiar.  Oh how familiar.

14 comments:

tj said...

...Wow. Just wow Angel Debra and AD4. :o)

...I'm tellin' you that there's somethin' special about you all. It's as if that something special makes its way thru the earth's biosphere and lands right here in front of me. Some day, and I do mean someday, I want to meet you all. Yeah, you all are THAT special! *giggle* ;o)

...Sweet post!

...Enjoy your Sunday and blessings too... :o)

Laura ~Peach~ said...

beautiful... and so true...another lovely post where the words dont mean as much as the feeling in them... you are so gifted with sharing how i feel :) Love ya

Jenn-n-n said...

I loved reading this Debra.

The emotion/feeling behind the words comes through loud and clear.

Thank you for sharing.

Irene Latham said...

I want my son to call me and read me a poem someday. How sweet is that?? Love the pics, too. xxoo

Ness said...

It amazes me the memories our children have...sometimes we don't have to even try to make a memory for them...they take the ordinary and turn it into a heartfelt memory. I'm starting to hear some of those "Remember whens?" from my kids and it truly touches my heart. I'm so glad I have you to share it with. Major hugs to you, dear Deb. I am so lucky to have you in my life.

Sunshine said...

That was amazing...well described.... Isnt it amazing to see your children growing, learning and become so thoughtul and so talented... wonderful memories to share with them... seems like time is running away.... glad you share your thoughts and teaching everyday something new....

God Bless... ALl of you

Love
Sabi

jen said...

Debra,
There are always those people the Spirit seems to pray through. Of course, you must be one of them. And, your daughter - emerging as a gifted writer.

It must seem at times that the years have rocketed by. They do for me. When I stopped working a year ago, Sully was still two. Now, Bridgy will turn two and Sully will be four in August. Sometimes, I stop and wonder, "Why is this happening!?!" And, "this" is only TIME...

We deal with a lot of burgeoning hormones in this house at that moment. Just great since I seem to be pre menopausal. WONDERFUL! Ha!

Also, I wanted to mention that so many years ago when I was opening up to learning about other faiths, I had hte privilege of attending the Bat Mitzvahs of twin girls in OKC. I remember the Rabbi mentioning that in Russia that same evening a set of Jewish twins in Russia were also having their Bat Mitzvahs, and that they'd risked their lives for their faith. This must have been in 1986 - just prior to the thawing of the Cold War. It was very memorable.

Pam said...

Hi Debbie, Now that is a face that could melt an ice burg!
Your descriptions of her reminds me of my 15 year old granddaughter. She is a true gift from God and a blessing in our lives, too..
You have a marvelous way with words, they touched my heart... thank you for sharing this wonderful gift you posses. You should write, its in your sole. Blessings, Pamiam :D

Mickey Johnson said...

...wow, what a blessing! how incredible is that?! thanks so much for sharing with us. my little joey loves to write too. he is always writing his interpretation of events in our lives and i love it. he actually turned in a manuscript to have published...they only published three books and we paid for all of them, but his little face beamed so brightly with pride when they arrived today...i think mine did too! xo, mickey

Blue said...

in five short months i'll become mom to a teen. i am glad i've been able to peek into the lives of other moms of teens who are doing an amazing job...you included. i loved this tribute to m-girl. she's so lucky she got you as her momma. and i'm so lucky to see your example. thanks debra! ♥

Jenny said...

Beautiful. I am always taken back by the tangible connection mother and child. It is a love that is rooted to our very soul and pulls us in ways we never could have imagined. How blessed we all are ...
God bless those Angel Daughters of yours, and God bless you!!
Jenny

Melissa @ The Inspired Room said...

Another beautiful post that brings tears and chills...God has so richly blessed us to be able to experience the bond between us as moms and our children!

I now have all of my kids under one roof again, through the summer...it is wonderful to have them all in Washington now! I know this is such an extra blessing to have these summer months together before they fly off again to their own schools and apartment! While we are very busy with our church planning, I am still taking time to watch my kids faces, treasure their presence, cherish each dinner we make together, each shopping trip we experience and the sounds of laughter between them --...such fleeting moments you appreciate so much when they are ready to fly the coup!

love you and sending you big hugs!!

Kathleen Botsford said...

Deb, what a wonderful gift from your daughter. I too know the "ups and downs" of full time parenting and those moments you described so lovingly are worth their weight in gold. My oldest daughter becomes 22 next Monday and then her college graduation party on Saturday. My youngest turned 16 two weeks ago today. When she returned from driving herself to and from school that first day she told me it was "Weird and cool, scary and sad." I tucked that away for further "mommy moments" too. I must run now to catch up on your most recent posts.....

Jeannie said...

this is a beautiful post, debra. also a beautiful picture of your daughter. i like the way you put it all; it really resonates with me.

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