Motherhood, Undone

Nest, abandoned, Kelly Salasin, June 2019

There’s a thin line between love & hate. That’s the chorus from an old song, right? But my therapist says something like that too–hate/love–two sides of the same coin.

Both my kids graduated this season–one from high school/the other from college. As I look through the photo albums and the keepsake boxes that I carefully prepared over the years, I think about putting all of it in a pile, outside, dousing it with kerosene, and lighting it on fire.

I share this motherly vision with Aidan as he packs for his interview upstate. “We don’t have kerosene,” he says, as he stops to wrap his arms around me. “But you could use the fuel for the lawnmower.”

I haven’t seen the baby foxes for more than a week. I left for 4 days and somehow they left too.I stare at the rocks every day, waiting for them. I betcha they were fed a Robin for breakfast one morning because she never returned to her nest either.

Maybe I should write fiction instead of memoir. This isn’t about me. This is what it is to have been devoted. To have loved and sacrificed. To have arrived at the other side of the bridge.

We’ve had a good run the four of us. I’m equally determined to be one again. To distill a singular focus. To make a gift of it, this wild & precious life I’ll call my own.