A Reflection on Your 18th Birthday
By Kelli Gray-Meisner
Motherhood comes in layers,
the first layer is all consuming.
Almost all attention devoted externally to this new Being.
The layers continue to deepen,
as the Being continues to grow and mature.
First, school, then nights away with friends and loved ones.
As the Being becomes more present to the external world,
the Mother is able to become more present to her own internal world, again.
An internal world that feels simultaneously exciting and indulgent.
A world that is changing every day with the needs of her Child.
This layer is like a slinky, undulating back and forth, up and down.
There is a clear moment and layer where things become blurred.
Adolescence, is a layer that is quite incongruent,
they both regularly experience pain as the true delineation between them starts.
Comfort is not only felt in the bond of Mother and Child, but now cultivated separately.
In fact, for both parties, the old inclination to run into each other’s embrace is no longer the first reaction.
The growing Being now feels the need to build their own internal support and reject that of the Mother’s.
While this is normal and healthy,
it can feel devastating to the Mother.
Devastation, like a tornado, that leaves a different reality in its aftermath.
This is the continuous job of a Mother.
Continual recalibration of her place based on her child’s actions,
like a bird gauges the unpredictable winds during a flight.
This layer is deep, colorful, stormy and ever-changing.
Depending on the culture, this Child eventually, “comes of age.”
An arbitrary numerical delineation of no longer being a child.
But a Mother knows that Child is more than a chronological marker of time.
A Child is a Being that came into existence through Her.
For a Mother knows that just like the layers of the earth,
the layers of a Mother and Child’s relationship are innumerable and everlasting.
Yes, they change in temperature, shape, consistency, and depth,
but they are always present.
So, Dylan, on this 18th anniversary of your life on this planet
I want to say thank you for teaching me how to navigate the layers.
May we become more graceful with age and experience.
I love you, to infinity and beyond.
About Kelli Gray-Meisner
Kelli Gray-Meisner is a woman in constant pursuit of revealing her purpose on this planet and balancing that with living in the 21st-century with the heart and soul of somebody who is suited for a much simpler time. She raises her two sons, Dylan (18) and Ayden (12), with her husband living in San Diego, California. She works as a Integrative and Functional Nutritionist in clinical practice and research and also teaches. She took the five mindfulness training’s in the Plum Village tradition at Deer Park Monastery in 2004. Her current interests include; alchemizing accumulated life experience with mindful family life, engaged relationships, embodied movement, scared sisterhood, cultivating creative conversations & connections, radical nourishment and healthy lifestyle, while peeling back the layers of what it means to live life on purpose and be of benefit. Kelli’s current edge of practice includes confronting and making peace with the internal patriarchal perfectionist within herself which extends into her family, community, profession and the world.