This morning, as I do most days, I awake with a reminder to myself not to move. Adjusting to the light, I try to hold onto the last vestiges of a painless night’s sleep. I lie under the covers, immobile, unflinching, not daring to budge, in order to savor the evanescence of warmth, comfort and ease.
Today, during that fleeting bit of peace enveloping my body, my mind turns to mothers. My own, my sisters, my friends and others. I think about women who are excitedly on the verge of motherhood, and those who, in their mid-forties, anxiously await the birth of their first or second child. About mothers who live far from their children and grandchildren.
I think of the mothers who are preparing themselves – emotionally as much as psychically – for a lumpectomy, chemo, radiation therapy or worse. The mothers who are taking care of ailing parents while also soothing their sick child. And all the mothers who work so hard to hold it all together, to keep their family on track, in synch, in health, in one piece.
Just one piece. All I need to do is move one piece of my body to re-enter the realm of pain. But all I want to do is stay put, to keep the waves of agony out at sea. However, as much as I would love to linger in this surreal limbo, I know without a doubt that movement is ultimately a better option.
I grit my teeth, knowing that the storm is about to overtake the calm. And I surrender: I wiggle, curl and unfurl the toes of my left foot. Ow. Only with a gentle massage, does the vice around my foot slowly release its grip.
The focused stream-of-thought about mothers has long passed by the time I cajole my leg into loosening up. But then, when I finally manage to stand, I look out my window and, through the grey drizzle, I see two brightly-dressed figures – one tall, one small – holding hands as they walk hurriedly along the path. A mother-daughter duo no doubt. Just perhaps, they’re singing in the rain.