Each of my children has subtly sculpted me, their mother, into a person who must sometimes forget where they end and I begin.
They have taken my personality edges and with the shorelines of their growth from baby hood to adolescence, mellowed me out to a person who values the sleep in they denied me in their early days.
Through them I re-experience the cinema, the beach, the word and colours of childhood – most of all I’m allowed to play and no-one can look at me strangely because I’m just being a Mum.
We build sand castles at the beach, progress to beach cricket and later fly kites. I photograph, and am with, my children on the sand.
We wriggle uncomfortably in deck chairs at an old style theatre to watch ridiculous children’s movies.
They’ve made me recall the days I was bullied and think about how I made it through those times and how they can too. Stones can be turned into feathers and stories can make the load lighter.
They make me laugh sending up their hard times by looking at the lighter moments within potential bleakness. They are optimists, mostly.
My daughter gathers tiny shells and chicken egg shells for three dimensional collages, my youngest son makes everything into a cricket or hockey stick and my eldest son is glued to a guitar. Somehow they have each taken a little piece of me and reshaped it into their own.
As they grow we play less for they move into new spaces with new dreams. From cities, to coastal towns, to living right beside the cane, we journey side by side. Now, I’m at the sidelines waiting for these fledgling ones to fly like Brahminy kites away into their futures. I can’t take their flight for them. But I can and have tried to prepare them.
I trace the outlines of their gifts – drawing, sport, music – and know that somewhere along the line I wanted to become a mother worthy of being in their lives. That somewhere along the line mothering became my centre and from it all else radiated. Yet, to be in this circle of motherhood, one must embrace other circles, of – friends, being, vocation, futures – to become strong.
They have shaped me into a writer who photographs and writes the poetry of family. Who knows beyond self, there are others for whom I would sacrifice my life. Virtues are the language of the mother empowered.
We move across the landscapes as I place cameras in their hands and they photograph sunsets scrolling past our moving Four Wheel Drive.
The first memories of being called into motherhood, the first touch of each child’s hand I can enfold in my palm, are never far away. I see them even when they now have their adolescent days of break away.
They are testing their wings, and shaping me again. Only this time I will breakaway – to emerge as more than mother and they will be more than my children.
Inspired by the Who Shaped Me project for ABC Open, this month’s Pearlz Dreaming blog theme will be about the people who inspire me and there are lots of them! Goal 19 pieces on Who Shaped Me.