It’s September 7, 2018 and I am on my way to Ontario, Canada, to participate in a “Mother’s Blessing.” My niece, Paige, is expecting her first baby and my sister, Aspen, has planned something unique. This isn’t going to be a normal baby shower, if I know my sister.
Aspen will do all she can to make sure the women gathered will connect with each other on a “below-the-surface” level, even though some of us will be meeting each other for the first time. Our common bond is womanhood and Paige. We are there to celebrate and to offer emotional support in Paige’s final stages of pregnancy.
At this gathering, we most likely won’t be playing games (which is fine with me.) It will be filled with ceremonial-type experiences; singing, candles, sharing, laughter and tears. That’s just the way my family is.
My siblings and I were raised to contemplate. We went deep. Our conversations were usually centered around spirituality—serious matters. Our words and activities were chosen carefully. We continue that tradition, even today. So I know this upcoming occasion will be meaningful.
We’ve all been asked to come prepared to share nuggets of wisdom. (See what I mean?!) Not words written in a card or in the front of a baby book, but spoken out loud, in front of the group. Just the thought of this makes me nervous. I tend to be very quiet when I’m at a baby shower. I feel awkward…like a single woman at a friend’s wedding.
I’m puzzled by this rush of feelings. As a musician who performs in front of people, I love sharing songs, stories and life-experiences (wisdom) with audiences. But for some reason, I feel very inadequate and unworthy to give advice in this scenario.
As I drive through the mountains near Williamsport, PA, I realize I probably feel inadequate because I’m not a mother. I’ve never conceived or given birth to a human. I’m a daughter, sister, aunt (even a great, great one) and wife. But I’m not a mother and I’ll never be a grandmother (a reality that I didn’t fully grasp until my friends started having grandchildren.)
So as I’m making the eight hour trip, I ponder how to handle the upcoming gathering. I have plenty of time to think.
A voice in my head says, “Who are you to share any wisdom with Paige? What could you possibly tell her? You don’t know anything about being a mother. People will think you’re stupid for even thinking you have anything to contribute. Your words will seem useless.”
The childless part of me wants to turn around and go home. The aunt part of me keeps driving.
Another voice, more soft and barely discernible, seems to say, “Talk to her as a woman, not as a mother. Tell her what you wish you could tell every woman—mother or not. You’ve heard the lament of enough “empty-nesters” who say that once their babies grow up and leave, they [the mothers] wonder who they are and what their life will consist of beyond their family.”
The creative musician part of me thinks about writing a song.
I pull into a McDonald’s in Bath, New York, order a sausage, egg and cheese McMuffin (a treat usually reserved for road trips) and start writing.
What is the one thing I want to tell Paige? It will take me the rest of the weekend in Canada to finish the song just in time for the celebration.
As Mother’s Day 2021 approaches, I still feel the complicated feelings many women feel at this time of year, on this weekend. But as I’ve had time to reflect and think about what I’d say to women in general, not just mothers, I’d still say what I said in this song to Paige…
And oh, by the way…Paige gave birth to a beautiful little girl named Nova Rose, on October 6, 2018.
The song has not yet been professionally produced, so I feel like I’m showing you a newborn baby.