In contradistinction to the Creedence Clearwater mantra, I am, in fact, a fortunate son. My mother is extraordinary.
She is wise, and beautiful, and sweet; she is fierceness wrapped in grace; grace wrapped in modesty; modesty wrapped in genius; genius wrapped in love. Everything I understand about the heart’s ephemerality I have osmosized from her.
How lucky can one boy be, to have so many women of such extraordinary character in his life? This is me; a boy with a mother, with grandmothers, with aunts and cousins; all of whom have writ their lives large on the pages of a mighty history.
I am happy to know, in the deepest recesses of my soul, that the long, cruel shadow of misogyny has never darkened my psychic door; I have known too much goodness in woman to ever succumb. But that said, I may as well have been the most ghastly woman-hater alive, for how much I’ve had to re-write my sense of just what exactly “Mother” means; what woman means; what love means.
My wife. Oh lord, my wife. What hath she wrought on my tender and unexpecting soul! It nearly broke my brain, my falling in love with her; one can only tremble in the sight of such power. But now, she is a mother. The mother of our daughter. My daughter. Our daughter.
I can hardly write this, for my weeping. It’s too much for one human, one man, to bear; to know this much about what a woman is capable of. I walked beside her, held her, prayed for her, prayed to her, as her tiny belly swelled, as that tiny heartbeat grew louder in her belly, as she weathered the most monstrous of pains, fears, and challenges. My lord, what woman can do, as she becomes MOTHER!
Everything I ever thought about her went away like mist in the face of warmth; my wife, goodbye, I will never again know you as you were, because you stand before me now as something otherworldly, super-human, interstellar goddess force genius soul.
You are the most remarkable thing I’ve ever known. As is my mother. As is every mother. My lord, what are you all!?! How can you all, of such strident power and mojo and magic, stride amongst us feeble mendicants??? Bless you all a million times for birthing us, for raising us, for loving us. Bless you all.
And my daughter. So small, so very small, so extraordinarily small, such a little baby girl, my daughter, my daughter, my daughter, my little baby girl. And yet, at just past two years, already a woman, already with the forces of the elements in her tiny palms.
Tell me she could peel the skin of the world like an orange, and I would believe you. Tell me she could paint the oceans of the universe with one brush and one color, and I would believe you. Tell me she could scratch, just by flashing her lashes, the spiritual itch of a monk in a wild, untamed forest of Japan 10,000 years ago, and I would believe you.
But what are the first words she says, every morning, without fail, when she wakes? “I want Mama.”
Oh mothers, how can you be so good, loom so large, wreak such havoc on our meager hearts? How can we ever know what love means to you, when you wield it with a power we can never know, feel it with a capacity we can never understand? Oh mothers, must you make us all cry so heartily on this morning?
To my mother, to my wife, to my daughter, I celebrate you. My lord, what creatures you are! Nothing will ever be as you are to me now; no Niagra, no Yellowstone, no Vesuvius, could shake my ground as you have.
My mother. May my every breath from now until my end be a prayer to you.
My wife. May my every breath from now until my end be a prayer to you.
My daughter. Should motherhood bless you, should you bless us with your motherhood, may a million blessings dance about your wisdom like snowflakes with the knowledge of play writ in their souls.
I am a small man, and a humble one. I spend my days talking about wine. It’s not much, really, but in its own way, its world is beautiful too, this world of wine.
And today, this wine is something else altogether; totemic, ritualistic, euphoric. This wine is awareness, and praise. It is giving, and receiving. It is history, and presence in the present. It is holy, and it is humble. It is the earth, and the sky. It is the heavens, and the earth. It is aspiration.
It will never be what it is tasted in praise of, but it is the fabric and thread with which the ritual of admiration and praise is enacted.
Mothers, I love you. I love you. I love you. With this glass, I thee praise.