I like to think everything can be expressed with language. I’m a writer, after all. And despite something like the Sublime, which is often considered ineffable, I’ve always believed using an assortment of phrases to communicate is a reasonable feat.
Until now, as I sit here trying to put into paltry words the considerable impact my mother has had on me. My task is next to impossible. I just can’t seem to find my way, or discover where to start, or uncover the essence of this overwhelming task.
Nothing will do.
No word is effective enough. No sentence, either.
She is more than the thread with which I am knit. She is more than the creed around which I structure my life. She is more than the love that steers my heart.
Because she’s a warrioress who has shared the most intimate part of herself four times, to give me and my three siblings a chance at this grand experiment. We took and she gave all that was necessary for us to dream and sleep and walk and create and soar and talk and think and strive, and strive, and strive for the cosmos. Because she spent some of her own stardust to give us ours.
She went without, while we went with everything. She probably doesn’t realize the impact. How could she? If we can’t grasp it, how’s she supposed to know the magnitude of her constant and perpetual sacrifice, an act that comes naturally to the rare, and only ever to those who aren’t conscious of their depletion.
We don’t spend our days acknowledging our debt to her. We go on with our lives, we make our own contribution to society, we struggle and hope and give to others because she taught us that. It’s a pairing as old as time. It’s the beginning of everything. Woman gives up a piece of herself to birth another into being, teaching her creation to pass it on.
Conception means to take in and take hold, in Latin. Conception also refers to grasping or comprehending something. This is fitting. Mother takes in and holds until the child is … well, understood.
My mother may have been the only one — with the exception of her mother — who understood me when I needed to be heard, when I needed to soar, when I needed to pursue the dream that was the only one for me. She made sure to carry me on her back until I could run on my own.
So it’s been a long, winding road, but I see the trajectory when I look back, where it begins with her unwavering belief in my talent and the push she gave me to go out and spend it. (She’s still pushing me and supporting me and dreaming alongside me.)
She and I reminisce about that early dream pursuit. We laugh about the surreality of my life during those early days as an ingénue in New York City, living in an overpriced residential hotel — on her converted Canadian dime — with cockroaches and shared toilets and yellow caution tape! Those were quite the collect calls. We cried lots when I phoned home, but I thrived with her hand at my back, sharing my life of fantastical toil. And I LOVE her for it. She was the wind beneath my wings and the steel in my spine.
She is the most influential woman in my life. She is the one to whom I am most indebted.
She is my mom.