I am reading The Mother by Pearl S. Buck, who is also the author of The Good Earth. I picked it up from the discount shelf at a bookstore back when I still left the house on a regular basis and had the time to read back covers without a sticky little hand tugging on my pants for a snack. The book has been in a pile with other leftover books from a more prosperous era of book buying, patiently waiting its turn in queue.    

The pages are yellow and brittle and the front cover has a neon green $1 sticker on it, although I think I only paid a quarter for it. Imagine if the author knew how her time spent away from family and friends, writing and rewriting the book was reduced to a mere, measly 25 cents. I wonder if she still would have written it or said, “the hell with it” and thrown the manuscript into a musty chest never to see the light of day, again.

When I turn down the corner of a page to mark it, it breaks off in my hand. A crunchy little triangle that will never be returned to the book of its origin and proof of my sin against books. Review any of the books on my bookshelves for more proof of this bad habit, with an exception given to none.

There is a line that repeats itself in my head from the book; it is striking not only as a mother, but especially as a mother in the middle of a pandemic with two little boys.

“Is there one day different from another under Heaven for a mother?”    

For me, the answer is no. Each morning, it is a routine of wake, feed, play, repeat. Of course, the routine is tailored to the various needs of my offspring, but the repetition is there with the unfortunate addition of cleaning and cooking. And I find myself content in it, mostly. I am happy to have the opportunity to raise my boys how I want and grateful for our time together because I know it won’t be like this for long, cue Darius Rucker’s singing and tears.

2 thoughts on “The Mother

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