Mother vs Tornado


I was snagged by this poem when I first read it. My baby was brand new then. And I read it slowly as he slept. Or more likely, as he nursed, as he did endlessly, and there on the couch, I had to ride the wave of all my surging emotions, thinking, I can’t believe I ever thought a vipassana meditation retreat would be fun.

Facebook excavated the poem recently, and I re-read it, and was a little aghast at the mother’s fierceness, at her rage and willingness to spin endlessly into the wind to cut the stupid head off a tornado, and I thought, yes, if someone took the boy away from him, that is the rage that would surge up in me. How pointlessly destructive of me. How small I am. And if that rage had nowhere to go, because of the sheer unfairness of the taking, and the weight of the system enforcing that taking, then it is very likely that I would turn all that ferocity, the hacksaw, grenade and blade of my rage, onto myself.

I honour the incredible work that Indigenous communities have done to try and digest the injustice done to them, when the children were taken away, and the work people, families and communities have done to release that rage. I offer compassion and apology to those who were undone by it. I honour the healing journeys. It is unimaginable to me. And yet, and yet… My privilege is not just in having had more than I deserve in this life (the gouda, the popcorn, the lungs, the house), but that I have not had to fear the police, the teachers, the government. I think that fear and rage would have destroyed me, because as it is, I feel undone by the love. But undone in the most beautiful way. I am sorry for all the damage that happened when we were looking the other way. Let us put our elbows out, and form circle to protect each other’s children, and one another, that the next time the tornadoes come, we will be stronger together. And not allow something so wrong.

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