Saturday, November 1, 2008

My First Born "Mustang"

Yesterday, Halloween, my oldest son, Brook, came to town for a short visit. He's a young man whose energy fills up a house as soon as he walks through the door. If he was a horse, he'd most certainly be a Mustang!

And, he's busting out of the seams with creativity--serenading me with his songs upstairs, downstairs, in the Living Room, in the kitchen--singing, strumming--beautiful music--full of passion.

I treasure those moments.

Four years ago, when Brook was fourteen, he went to live with his dad in Montana. That was a tough loss for me, and maybe one of the reasons I chose some "hard-case" horses recently.

As a mother, you expect to be with your children in minutes, hours, days, months--that ever-present relationship it's easy to take for granted, but combined, is what "motherhood" is all about.

Instead, for the last four years, I mothered him in moments. I might have a week here, a day there, a summer here, a Christmas there--moments--mourning the day to day life I'd lost with him--but happy for what I could get.

The horses helped distract from the loss.

I remember my farrier saying to me the first time I really got to pet Beautiful--when she trusted me enough to stand there for a long time--he said, "You're probably the first one to do that since her mother."

It makes me think about raising teens--when their will to be independent temporarily breaks the maternal bonds--makes your relationship so tenuous. A sort of dance starts--much like when you're working a Mustang in a pen--trying not to get kicked, trying to let it know it has its space, and room to get away--yet trying to touch it and let it know you're there to be its friend--helper. Except the work with the teen goes on for years, whereas the initial roundpenning with the horse is over in days.

The guitar in the picture is one I bought for him one of the times I said good-bye. He had taken violin lessons from the time he was a young boy--progressing through the 1/8, 1/4, 1/2 and eventually a full size violin. But in his teens, he transitioned to electric guitar---which was LOUD and impractical to use too often.

He had so much music in him--I thought--if I can give him anything to take my place in this time of life, what would it be?

And, then I thought--his opportunity to play his songs. I thought his creativity, if nurtured, could see him through the tough times he'd face--and maybe, just maybe, bring him safely to the other side.

Well, so far, he's safely to the other side--and that guitar has provided him no end of comfort and joy.

Two months ago he painted it--the story of his life--his struggles and temptations--his detours--many things are depicted there. And, me, I'm the woman's head that's painted on the front.

Good or bad, I'm part of his music--and he's certainly part of mine.


  1. I have a grandson that has music in his soul. He could not live without it. At 16 he composed a sypmphony at the piano. It made me cry it was so beautiful. Now he drums.

  2. Wow, Lea--now that's an accomplishment. I think the ones who really love it, devote themselves non-stop--which is probably the biggest difference between people who take up music and quit and those who make it a way of life.

  3. I can see the love he has for music in his face.

  4. Yes, he really gets into it. He's happiest when he's playing his guitar.

  5. I saw Maya Angelou speak last night. She said that we are all composers, writing good thinking and right actions into our lives. How wonderful that you helped make music part of the composition of your son's life.

  6. I would LOVE to hear Maya Angelou speak. I reread Emerson's Self Reliance last night--and I think it's the same concept in a different way--each man and woman have their own unique creative impulse and a short time on earth to listen to it. When I see my son embracing his, I feel like he'll be okay in life.


Please feel welcome to join our discussion by telling us about your own thoughts and experiences.