The Arms of Safety

The arms of my oversized chocolate brown chair hold my tired body as I bring the face of my discontented daughter towards me. Her quivering lips latch on and her squawks slow to a grave whimper as she suckles the milk from my breast with a sweet hum of contentment. Oxytocin forges through my body as my daughter and I begin the symbiotic dance of bonding. As the “liquid gold” is extracted from my body to hers, it brings sustenance and our eyes meet and lock as I gaze into infinite beauty.

We are captivated.

I am a mother of six children. Four through the holy process of birth and two I labored three grueling years to adopt from Haiti.

I have lost four babies to miscarriage.

Since I was a little girl I dreamed of being a mom all while my heart ached and searched for my own mother. Although I have an earthly mom, there are vacant caverns in my heart that moan and sometimes wail for the ways she has missed me. My three, five, ten, fifteen, and twenty-five-year-old self desperately needed her to attune and care for me.

The ache and desire to be mothered by her runs deep.

Like the hatchling bird from Are You My Mother? I have searched for her while trying to be one myself.

I still long for her squishy arms to hold and wrap me like a warm blanket. I wish to nuzzle my face into her chest and catch a waft of safety.

At times that longing feels as if it could swallow me whole.

While fumbling through mountaintop victories and the valleys of parenting, I hear the voice of accusation and contempt towards my heart say, “I’m not good enough” and “I’m missing the six hearts that have been entrusted to me.”

How can I be a mother when so many places in me need mothering?

As I’ve engaged the work of my story and all the places my young parts were missed, I have been awakened to how I can mother those younger parts. A fresh determination of going back for them is rising. I want to lace up a pair of hiking boots and grab some walking sticks and excavation tools because I know the terrain is steep and unclear. But it is worthy of going back for.

There is a cadenced wooing by the One who knows each location.

The ache and desire to be mothered by her runs deep, but His love and His ways are deeper still.

How can I go back and mother the younger parts of me so they are no longer missed?

So, I fumble. Through songs penned by others who have given me the words when I haven’t had my own and the books that have shown me the language and navigation tools to find her. It is there where my kind-faced enlightened witness gives me permission to ask for soothing. It is there where I find the strength to hold up the mirror so I can show my face in a place of safety.

Here, my orphaned heart has shifted to a heart that is filled with a deep and beautiful desire.

And still, at times, my breath is snatched by the grief of longing. I grieve what she has missed, what I have missed, and what my children are missing.

Now I walk through my gardens of blooming flowers, thankful for the women who have taught me to plant. I let the sun kiss my face, thankful for the women who have spoken words of wisdom, telling me to slow down and gaze into the eyes of my children and know that I am bringing them more of me daily. As I offer them arms of safety and a scent of comfort, I am able to revel in the textured beauty and the ways God has expanded and sewn all I have needed into the fabric of my life.

Each morning I awaken and find myself in that same chocolate brown chair. No longer do I have a pudgy fingered, round eyed baby to pull towards my breast, to soothe and to comfort. What I do have is a place where my healing heart suckles sustenance and liquid gold through scripture, books, my writing, and art. As I sip my almond-milk-vanilla-flavored-coffee and exhale, I take a deep breath in and catch the scent of the oils of my diffuser and remember all that my younger parts so desperately needed. It is in these moments I latch onto the truth, the songs and the words of comfort that nourish and swaddle my young heart.

Megan is a Midwesterner in the mountain west. She runs a tight a ship and thrives alongside her husband of 15 years and six children. She is educated in teaching and counseling and spends her time helping people dream redemption. She loves Hot Tamales, Essential oils, coffee with friends, and listening to audio books while folding laundry and Costco runs.