My Moon Mother and My World Mother

I have two mothers. This might not mean what you think. For years, admitting that I had two moms brought up shame, guilt, and a collage of feelings that weighed heavy on my heart. Completing my memoir, The Soulful Child: Twelve Years In The Wilderness, at age forty and now a mother myself, brought me face to face with what my life had been, and what my connection to my biological mother had meant.

Who was my mother? The bloodline of womanhood that strung together infinite memories stored in my body. She was once a beauty of her time, a ballet dancer in her youth, a redheaded rebel with intellect and instinct, charm and gusto. She pursued her desires and dreams like a lioness pursues food for her young. When she fell in love with my father, she followed him on horseback into the wilderness, denouncing everything she knew.

My mother was a picture of grace in the middle of the woods. Her new life began and she gave birth to six babies in the wilderness. No medical intervention necessary. I was her first girl after three boys. She often told me of the magic she felt when holding a girl in her arms for the first time. The loft of the one-room stone house in which I was born shrouded a dim light bouncing off the plastered walls as she held me pressed to her bare chest. Child to mother, woman to woman, the bond of mother and daughter was imprinted on our bare skin forever. This woman was my moon mother.

I didn’t know it then, the first of many nights I spent cradled in her arms, that my world of safety in the woods would someday break apart. My siblings and I, without birth certificates to prove our names, would endure a great loss, death in many forms, coming with the winter storms in the woods and finally a cracking apart of the family completely. During this time, if there is such a thing as the face of God, it was shown to me in the finding of my second mother.

When I was taken from my wilderness-life and parents into the traditional world at age twelve, She, the woman bestowed to my siblings and I as a guardian of care would become my world mother. During this devastating transition, a deep deep sadness lingered in the walls of my being. I could not let go of my relationship with my birth mother. Because of my father’s religion, I had been taught many a lesson from the Bible, but none was ever so clear as this: the lesson of unconditional love. Ida, my guardian of care, never asked me to let go of my birth mother. She in fact took me back up the mountain to visit my moon mother, held my hand, and cupped my tears. Forgiveness was an unspoken dance between mother and child; a colorful working of the spirit that slowly brought us all together.

This Mother’s Day I celebrate both my mothers and the unconditional love that saved us all.

Read the whole story in The Soulful Child: Twelve Years in the Wilderness