Holding my Mother

My mother and I were at the same family gathering on the weekend. Which is not a big deal if you come from someone else’s family, but my mom and I only see each other once a year or so. And that’s a huge improvement after two decades of down right difficult, then jaw-clenchingly tense, and now tentatively willing relationship. (There’s a mouthful.)

She looks beautiful. One bionic hip, and two hearing aids (which she’d forgotten at home), but a soft, gentle face and a kind of high, croaky, older woman’s voice. Once planted on the couch, she stayed put. I brought lunch to her while she watched her kids mingle and her grandkids fling themselves around the room with my dog.

She did yoga when I was a kid. That was my introduction to yoga, to meditation, to the whole idea of looking inward as a form of health care. It astounds me, writing this, when I consider how central this looking inward is to everything I believe now. It is the core of my work in health care, in theatre, in parenting, and in all relationships.

My mother doesn’t do yoga any more.  She can’t get down to a floor and has no local chair yoga classes. More than that, she’s lost the oomph it would take to do yoga at home.

When we talk about it, she says, never, never stop doing yoga. It was the best thing ever, she says. People make their own choices. I know this.

And yet, if I had one wish today, it’d be that my mom could still do yoga. Or that somehow, I could do it for her, while holding her closer and closer to this croaky heart of mine, which, I hope, is growing more flexible over time.

Is there anyone you’d love to hold during your practice?

Thanks to yoga for looking inward, to my mom (love, love, love), and to you for the conversation.

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