I recently finished The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah. As I listen to books on my commute, I often pause the recording when I hear a lovely or heart-wrenching quote and voice text it into my iPhone notes. With The Four Winds, I captured 11 quotes. One that has settled into me is this:
"You're wearing your worried face"
said the daughter to her mother.
"It's my love face"
said the mother to her daughter.
*** I chose mother and daughter instead of character names for context
As I reflect upon ALL THE THINGS (#overanalyzersunite), I cannot get those words out of my head.
I am embarrassed (or not?) to tell you the number of times one of my 3 boys has asked "are you okay mom? Your face looks funny like you're mad at me or worried." All the while, I'm thinking "I am cooking supper, I have just folded a million tiny boxer briefs, I signed your agenda, AND I am making a conscious effort to smile ever so slightly." I realize as I pass the hall mirror that my forced smile is only on the bottom half of my face and that the top half is riddled with the heavy and the unknown that I am carrying that day.
In my previous post on motherhood, I mention that I sing my children awake. It is quirky and I don't know how it started, but it is ritual in this house. If ever a morning passes without music in the house, the boys know "mommy ain't right." (sidebar: the writer in me abhors "ain't" while the Kentucky in me knows it infers just another level of wrong that the word "not" misses). Laugh if you agree.
As my boys get older, and as my therapy bill reaches the thousands of dollars, I am learning that pretending everything is okay:
With boys ages 19, 11, and 9, my Worried / Love Face has rested above my shoulders on so many different days and in so many different ways.
So what next? Is there a moral to this story?
I think of my own Mama and both my grandmothers.
I remember seeing their Worried / Love faces too and not knowing what they meant.
I remember telling both grandmothers goodbye when they BOTH knew they were dying from lung cancer, one as a spitfire 60 year old and the other as a content great-grandmother in her 80s.
Even if you are not a mother as you read these words, you have or had a mother.
She may be a great mother, or she may be one of the worst.
She may not be here to show you her Worried / Love face anymore,
and for that my heart aches for you.
I will leave you with this. Another The Four Winds quote.
"Believe me Elsa, this little girl (or boy) will love you as no one ever has and make you crazy and try your soul. Often. And all at the same time."
You either have a little girl or boy or you were a little girl or boy.
If you have seen any parent figure's Worried Face, then just KNOW that you are or were or will always be LOVED beyond measure and without end.
My pledge going forward is to tell my boys as much truth as they can handle at that moment about my Worried Face so that they will KNOW that it really just means that I love them. Forever and Always.