Tuesday, February 6, 2018

#SOL18: Motherhood

The Familiar Falling Away (M.A. Reilly, 2011)

Lost really has two disparate meanings. Losing things is about the familiar falling away, getting lost is about the unfamiliar appearing. - Solnit, Rebecca. A Field Guide to Getting Lost (p. 22). 


For each easyspace, I have occupied and forward movement felt--grief nonetheless reasserts itself and some days, even two years after, I stumble.  Life after Rob feels cumbersome. The starkest difference between life prior to Rob's death and now is that living life then was effortless. I had no idea.

Loss continues to open me to new understandings. Now, unmoored, life requires a level of attention I did not need before, revealing the unfamiliar--especially of parenting.


The image that tops this post is one I made of Devon running on a day we ditched school and work and I made images of Devon playing in the state park nearby. It was one of those fabulous fog days.

"What do you want me to do?" my son asked.
"Just take off and run. Here, take the umbrella."

Coming through the Rye (M.A. Reilly, 2011)
I did not know that day would later be a placeholder for the intangible time that rises between a son and his mother. Rob had gone to work that morning and Devon and I had gone to play.  I tell you now years later, I am so grateful for all that the image reminds me of and the place viewing it opens.

That was day about love. I did not know that then.

Later, we would return to another field. That evening I would lift my camera and see my son running through the field. Click.

So much more was captured then.


Being a single mom now is stressful and at times, tender. Without Rob to talk through situations, I find myself acknowledging the limitations of being a mom.  There's so much that exceeds my grasp.

This past week my son turned 19. In a few weeks he'll be off to Europe where he so wants to live. I wonder what Rob would have to say about all this? What words might he offer? What perspective would he share? The familiar stance of mother-son has slipped as Devon has aged. What is emerging? Somedays I wonder where we have gone. 

What remains regardless of all of the doubt and worry, tenderness and talk is love. 


  1. Oh, Maryann, this haunting post is so accurate, so relevant. My oldest son will be 34 Sunday. He’s both lost and not lost right now. Your words and photos speak to both our lives.

    1. Oh Glenda, I’m sorry to hear that. Sending kindness and strength his way. It’s so hard to be lost and yet so necessary. Something new and necessary is revealed in such times. It’s just so darn hard to stand in it.

      My son must have been about 11 when we made those images. He turned 19 just two days ago. Life moves on.

  2. I find that parenting is always unfamiliar, at every turn of the road through many years. Love your last words, "What remains regardless of all of the doubt and worry, tenderness and talk is love." So true.

    1. It is unfamiliar isn’t it? Sometimes I think so much of this doubt and uncertainty is because I am a single mom now. Then I realize that even with Rob here, there would be blind curves to negotiate. Thanks for that reminder, Alice.

  3. I bet Rob would have cheered him on.

    1. I can’t begin to tell you how much I needed to hear that. I’m sure you’re right. Thank you.


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