Last week we dropped off our youngest son in West Virginia. The baby of our family. This mother’s son is seventeen and starting his freshman year at college.
Last week a boy was shot unarmed in the street in Ferguson, Missouri. That mother’s son was eighteen and a few days away from starting college classes.
This week our son’s former high school classmate has most likely drowned in the St. Clair River. Divers were called off yesterday after thirty-six hours of searching for that mother’s son – just two weeks’ shy of his twentieth birthday.
This mother’s son is safe. That mother’s son is not.
An irreconcilable and jarring differential in an unequal equation that is repeated ad nauseam every day.
Sympathy is inadequate and empathy inconceivable.
The ugliest, darkest places that I may have been to in life have never included having to subtract by one the number of my children among the living.
For that I am shamefully, embarrassingly grateful.
And eternally in wonder of our ability as mothers to put one foot in front of the other with constant knowledge of the tenuous hold we have on our children.
Poet Ambrose Redmoon said that courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.
Just try and convince me that motherhood is not the greatest act of courage.