More Than One Mother: 10-15-11

Cozy Comfort: Last evening I dropped by our daughter’s apartment to deliver her dog magazine and a Pegasus announcement of a pumpkin-carving party next weekend, and while there, was able to take the pulse on her mood after her “misunderstanding” with a staff member. She looked great, was having popcorn and watching a movie with her apartment-mate and the weekend staff person, with whom she has become close. It was pouring rain outside and the whole scene, with the girls comfortably arranged on the red couch, feet stretched out on the matching ottoman, the air scented with the irresistible¬†aroma of recently popped corn and something Pixar-looking on the T.V. screen made me want to stay but I couldn’t and I shouldn’t. Mom and Dad were actually on our way to a wine tasting at the Community Center with a friend who resides three doors down from our daughter’s apartment.

Doing Better: The staff whispered me over to the kitchen entrance to say, “She’s doing better” but as yet was not ready to forgive the other staff person, though apparently they had talked earlier. O.K. This staff member is a mature lady with a grown child who exudes that maternal earthy acceptance that soothes our daughter most. Apparently our daughter unburdened herself to this lady, which shifted her mood to its current contented, smiley state. Great.

More Than One Mother: I have watched our daughter over many years being “mothered” by different women, mostly mothers themselves, dorm staff and before that, paraprofessionals who spent day after day with her in the public schools. Women with great empathy, practicality and a large dollop of love for our daughter. And I am grateful that she has had and still has more than one mother. I think all children need more than one mother. Someone to fill the gap, or someone who has a different knack. Studies in child development teach us that having the ability to bond with others in addition to our parents strengthens the child, giving them additional models to draw from for their life journey and a richness in social connection. Seems to have worked for our gal.

©Jill Edelman, M.S.W., L.C.S.W. 2011

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