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Be Good, Be True

Watching my youngest daughter nursing my grandson in the chair in which I nursed her a quarter of a century ago, time bends and I see back and back and even further back- me nursing her, my mother and me, my grandmother and my mother and so on, like nested matryoshka dolls. . .

Be good.  Be true.  My daughter has these words tattooed on her forearms.  She embodies both of these virtues.  She had herself marked with these words around the time of her father’s and my divorce. “Rather pointed,” I smugly thought at the time, “and not toward me.”

Now I see the myriad ways we betray each other all the time. . . and she would not be like either of us.  She will be reminded whenever she lifts her beautiful baby boy to her breast, whenever she takes her husband in her arms, whenever she reaches out to keep them from harm. . . She will not forget.

“We are given the magic in the beginning,” she tells me, “so that we’ll know what it’s like.  But after that we have to make our own.”

And this; “On paper motherhood seems impossible – and then somehow,  you manage.”

I watch her with amazement.  Overwhelmed, tired to the bone and yet serene in her love and confident in her ability to manage.  Where did she find these qualities?  How did she know to dig deep and deeper still?   I sit rapt at her feet, as if at the feet of a great master, this daughter of mine.