Dear Mother…


Dear young mother at the park,

Today I watched you stand by the bay, holding your baby boy, and I couldn’t take my eyes off of you. I’m not a stalker; I’m an aging mother, and seeing you there, touched me. The sun was shining, the breeze making the waves kick up the water. Your little boy, a year and a half? Maybe two? Your boy slept with his chubby arms wrapped around your neck, his head nestled against your chest, his face in your neck. Oh my God, how my heart skipped a beat. His face looked like my little boys’, twenty-three years ago, eighteen years ago. I think it really did look like my boy–– but that happens more and more these days. It’s been a long time since a little boy held my neck and slept so contentedly.

You stood there for a long time, and I wondered what you were thinking. I wondered if you knew how delicious the moment was? I hope so. People told me it was delicious, when my boys were little like that, but it was hard to appreciate, when I was tired from lack of sleep, or wanting a break, and when baby talk and soft food were one more things to get done each day. There were some sweet, sweet moments when I would pause and notice how incredible my little ones’ voices were. There were days when they slept against me and their sweat was the most sacred smell I knew. Each one of my babes had their own smell, and I swear I’d know it still, if I could have bottled it then.

Your little boy’s legs were limp as you wrapped your arms under his little diapered bottom. Those yummy little legs, that I often teased I would eat. The idea seemed plausible then; I was sure they tasted like everything good in life. I watched you lean against the railing by the water and remembered how my children’s sleeping weight strained my back and pushed my body in so many directions.  All the King’s horses and all the King’s men couldn’t put me back together again. Changed forever: my breasts now sag for having fed those babies, my stretchies and my grooves are from years of loving, carrying and birthing. Reminders I won’t have tucked or lifted or erased.

Mother, who I watched today, linger in that sleeping neck a little longer. Feel those solid, little boy legs against you. Breath in the salty air and remember how the sun feels, holding your baby. Oh the silly clichés: that time flies; that you will wish you enjoyed the moments which tire you now; you can’t go back, but will wish you can;  that it passes in a blink; that your body is so much more beautiful now, than you can appreciate–– all of those things other, older mothers (like me) say to you, when you are in the middle of it… you will have to learn for yourself.

With love.

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Happy Mother’s Day to all of the strong, tired, wonderful mothers I know, or don’t know. To the women who have birthed children, and those who have loved them. I am a better person in all ways for having been a mother, and for having loved the three people I gave birth to. They are my world, even as their worlds get bigger and bigger. What a beautiful world it is.

About Dawn Quyle Landau

Mother, Writer, treasure hunter, aging red head, and sushi lover. This is my view on life, "Straight up, with a twist––" because life is too short to be subtle! Featured blogger for Huffington Post, and followed on Twitter by LeBron James– for reasons beyond my comprehension.
This entry was posted in Aging, Awareness, Blog, Blogging, Daily Observations, Honest observations on many things, Life, Mother's Day, Mothers, Musings, My world, Parenting, Personal change, Tales From the Motherland, Women, Wonderful Things, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

55 Responses to Dear Mother…

  1. Lovely observations! At least she wasn’t on her phone or plugged into a headset not paying any attention. That really drives me crazy. You’re not so “aging”– once a mother, always a mother.
    How lucky we are.

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  2. Take that feeling you described and subtract the tiredness that comes from lack of sleep and constant caring. That’s what it feels like to be a grandparent. Call it GROTI – Grandparents’ Return On Their Investment. Someday that will be you again holding the baby.
    In the meantime, Happy Mother’s Day! – Mike

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  3. The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world. Beautifully written. Happy Mothers Day to all Moms!

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  4. Carrie Rubin says:

    This is lovely. Takes me back to when my boys were young. I have moments with both that I made sure I imprinted in my brain, because at the time, I told myself that they wouldn’t stay this way for long. And oh, yes, those little baby and toddler smells–the good ones, not the bad ones. 😉 Like perfume for the brain!

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  5. The Waiting says:

    That was beautiful and wonderful, and, might I add, very needed by me after I just dealt with a 20-minutes wail-fest just now. Thank you so much for reminding me how fleeting this time is.

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    • Trust me, it’s impossible to appreciate it every day, in every way. Exhausting, stupifying, demoralizing, all of that and more… but yes, some of the best times of your life. You will have her as an adult for a very long time but the wee (Cee) years are fleeting. Happy Mother’s Day Emily!

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  6. Cathy Ulrich says:

    Rich, beautiful, sweet. Lovely letter, Dawn.

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  7. Thank you for reminding me of some of the sweet moments during my Little Man’s busy time as a little guy. I can remember his waking up in his crib at about 5 months old, seeing me, and giving me a big smile. And when he was weeks old, and would sleep best lying on mommy or daddy.

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    • Such sweeet memories, aren’t they! I remember those times too, and while they went by too fast, I love that I still have them. : ) I wonder whether, when we are very old mothers and many memories are gone, that is what you recall most— as it such a powerful time in our lives, as women? Happy Mother’s Day Mariner.

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  8. etomczyk says:

    So sweet. I feel the same as you. Athough I think you can’t really appreciate the “moments” with children until you’re the grandparent because you can strip everything away except the moment. As a mother, there is always so much tugging at your attention and time, unfortunately. If not that, than exhaustion is the enemy.

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  9. I’m without words… This is just so perfect. I want to use a word like scrumptious or delicious- maybe it was the mention of those little legs and the teasing that you were going to eat them- I did the same thing. 🙂 Those are the moments, pure, vulnerable and full of love, that we cherish.
    Love this, Dawn.
    Xoxo

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  10. Reblogged this on A Gripping Life and commented:
    This post has ‘reblog’ written all over it. My friend Dawn has such a gift. I know you’ll love this as much as I do. — Lisa

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  11. Susan says:

    A beautiful piece! I love that you can put feelings into words, giving me a chance to remember my “little one”. I am deeply moved. Thank you.

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    • Thanks Susan! I appreciate the thoughtful comment. Each post, the goal is to reach out to others, so it’s always wonderful when my writing hits the mark. Thanks for your comment! Stop by and read some more, then let me know what you think. 🙂

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  12. unfetteredbs says:

    so glad Lisa sent me over here. What a great read this morning.

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  13. coastalmom says:

    You always amaze me when I take the time to read your words. They never don’t touch me! I love your heart. I know we’d be such good friends if you were in my daily life. I hope your friends embrace your friendships with them and know how blessed they are!
    I understand this so much. My daughter knows about my past and how sad I was when I was her age and she has made all the right choices for her life by choosing a man that cherishes her. So sad that it takes the first generation to teach the next what to not accept… but if my pain makes her learn without having to hurt too… so beit!
    She shared with me the other day this story… she was walking in the park after a party… (To remind you, she is a party performer for all the rich and famous on the weekends) And she was in full fairy garb so she felt kind of conspicuous but there was a girl in a car with the window rolled down getting blasted by her boyfriend she said every other word was F or Fing at this poor young girl. My daughter wanted to yank open the car door and tell the girl she would take her anywhere she wanted to go and that she did not have to put up with this jerk’s treatment! But she remembered she was in her fairy costume still so she just stared the guy down. He stopped for the time being. Who knows maybe my baby was that young girls fairy godmother for the moment. If it wasn’t all so sad… it would have been kind of funny.
    But like you, I want to grab a young mother and say… THESE are the good old days… They really are!
    Once a woman about my age now… came up to me when my daughter was a baby and had just said :I love you mama when we were in Target and told me someday I’d remember her telling me to enjoy it now.
    I do remember. Everyday. That woman who once upon a time observed me.
    I loved this Lisa.
    Thank you for posting!
    You are always in my prayers.
    😉
    xoxo
    sorry to have hogged this space all up!

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    • Wow! This is a really meaningful response. Thank you so much for taking the time to read my post, and then write such a thoughtful response. It’s so true, that we just hope that our own daughters (and sons) can benefit from what we’ve experienced. It’s not always doable, but so great when good things come from our own past. Thanks for your kind words and support; it’s much appreciated! 🙂

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  14. colonialist says:

    Fanciful, I suppose, but this post has the same appeal as that song from The King and I, ‘Hello Young Lovers’. It has the same feel within a different context.

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    • Wow, thanks. I would not have thought of that, but love the idea. So sweet, like the moment. Thanks for checking out my post Coloialist. I hope you’ll stop by and check out other posts, and share your thoughts!

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  15. sara says:

    Dawn, how lovely. I am a little removed from that woman in the park now, with my children 5 and 9. It always annoyed me a little when women would say to me ‘treasure this time dear, it will go so fast’. Yeah I would think; when your time is measured out in minutes that feel like an hour, hours that feel like days and days that feel like weeks. Strangely, the years feel like months. Why is that? The real knack of motherhood is presence and faith. i find I have more of that now, especially now that I have full nights sleep and time to myself. xxx

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    • No kidding! Sara, I totally agree. The reason I said, she will learn on her own, is because we each have to go on the journey for ourselves. I resented that advice, those missives, when my kids were little and I was exhausted… now I get it. But only because I’ve traveled a little. 😉 I’m a lot removed (23, 21, 16).

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  16. Linda Vernon says:

    Oh that feeling, that wonderful feeling! And when you have you’re grandchildren you are always refreshed and you notice everything! You know what to to burn into your memory and what to shrug off. You fall in love all over again. This was so tender and beautiful. It really touched me deeply! 😀

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    • Thanks Linda. I appreciate you checking out my blog, and taking the time to read and comment. I think I’m ready for that next phase… but plenty glad to wait too. 😉 No pressure on my daughter to do any thing about it… yet. Thanks again for your thoughts.

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  17. TomBoy says:

    I still sniff his head. Tonight it smelled like his dog though, but when I inhaled as hard as I could, his smell was there and it’s such a gift that he lays against me on the couch while I read to him. Thanks for this beautiful post.

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    • Thanks for taking the time to read my post and comment, TomBoy. Much appreciated! I used to hold my babies after others had visited, and feel like a feral mother, who could smell intruders on them. Someone else’s perfume, cigarette smoke, etc… it drove me nuts. Now they’re grown, and I can still smell a little bit of their little selves there, every once in a rare, sacred while. Thanks for sharing.

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  18. Reblogged this on TALES FROM THE MOTHERLAND and commented:

    Happy Mother’s Day to all of the women who have touched me life. We mother each other in so many ways, beyond giving birth. I’m grateful for the gifts you have given me. Above all, I’m grateful for the chance to have mothered the three children who call me Mom. This year, I can add Mima to that list, as my grandson is the newest light in my life. A chance to smell that sweet sleeping baby smell again… and watch a little boy grow.

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  19. Dale says:

    I found myself not only reading this post but every single comment and response to enhance comment. That’s how good this post was. I would so go back for a sniff now and again.
    Smell is such an important sense when we are parents! When my firstborn passed away at not quite eight months old, I found out my (now) late husband would go in and smell the little pile of Austin’s laundry that took me over a month to decide to finally wash. Mick was so mad at me for doing so…but he had never told me he went in every day to take a deep breath of his scent…
    We inhaled our next two boys’ scented whenever we could. As for their smelly socks now? Gag me with a spoon!!
    Thanks for this, Dawn xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Dale, I can’t tell you how it truly hits me in the deepest part of me, each time I imagine that lass. Some day, I would so love to sit down and really hear your story… such an enormous loss–– both Austin, and then Mick! I hold you in my heart, in the truest sense.

      And, I am deeply touched that you read this piece and it had that effect on you. That means… everything. Thank you, dear writing friend. xox

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      • Dale says:

        Dear Dawn,
        Life is funny. You never know. One day we just may find ourselves sitting together sharing our life stories.
        In the meantime, I am writing them down so maybe one day, you can read them!
        Oh. And I forgot to say on my original comment: what the hell? Aging parent? Slow the eff down, there, Lady! We’re the same age! 😉😎😙

        Liked by 1 person

  20. Oh, Dawn, so beautiful. I don’t have any children but I, too feel the amazement at how quickly they grow, and the feeling of loss. So touching!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Brenda. I really do believe that as women, we mother in so many ways. It is a very persona term and very generic, all at once. I think of you as a mother, and have valued your female wisdom and support, on so many occasions. Today is one of them. Thanks for this comment. xo

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  21. etomczyk says:

    Very sweet story . . . I know what you mean about not having had the ability to always rest in those precious moments when the kids were young. Everyone tells you that the time will fly, but as a young mother, the chores and bills and exhaustion outweigh “living in the moment.” Now they are in their mid-thirties, and like you, I’m making up for “in the moment” baby cuddling experiences with my grandson.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Nancy says:

    This is so precious. It’s like a prayer for young mothers everywhere to cherish today’s special moments. They’re fleeting, they’re gone before you can blink. Savor each second. It’s what life is all about. I gladly reposted.

    Liked by 1 person

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