Love Note: A Postlude to Mother’s Day

Dear ones,
During our Mother’s Day Celebration of Life we explored various elements of the meaning of mothering.  In a poem written by our own Kathie Johnson entitled File Me we have additional perspective, not only of motherhood, but of the complex spectrum of womanhood.

If you were to file me away in a large gray metal cabinet,
in neat letter-size manila folders,
you would have to slice me into tiny slivers and worry about the labels.

Is this enough for the mother file?
Should breastfeeding and snuggling and diaper changing be archived since they are no longer current?
Where do you file dealing with skinned knees, croupy babies, bake sales, whiny teenagers, college tuition, wedding planning?
Should cleaning and laundry be part of a folder on housework, or most hated activities?
What about grocery shopping, carpooling and school conferences?

I will always be a mother, no matter how much time passes by, but I cannot be put only in that folder.

Do you still call me daughter when my parents are deceased?
How much of me is sister, aunt, cousin, friend
Is wife and lover one category or two, and where do we put best friend?
Or should this one be labeled partner, mate, or spouse?

What about the me that lives in the outside world?
Does career go in one folder and a vocation in another, or are they the same?
Is there more than one category of friends, and how should they be identified?

You cannot label a human being,
you cannot file her in neat little compartments,
There is too much there,
too much tangled and intertwined,
impossible to slice into pieces.

You cannot label this human being,
so please stop trying to make me fit into your tiny definitions of womanhood,
and let me be my complicated, complex, intricate, multifaceted, problematical,  totally indescribable female self.