Yesterday was a banner occasion at our house – it was Jack’s 17th birthday. We celebrated with fried chicken and cake, movies and card games, Mochi Balls and lots of laughter.
Privately, Lance and I took a more solemn moment to observe a fact of significance only to us: It was the last “child’s” birthday party we would host for one of our own.
I’ve been noticing that a lot of the recent milestones in my life – at least as they relate to the “parenting” aspect of my life – are “lasts” rather than “firsts.” The fledglings are trying their wings and will be making longer and longer flights until they’ve left the nest for good.
I’ve spent 26 years amassing wisdom about diapering, colic, schooling, last-minute Halloween costumes and the PTA, and I’m not about to leave that part of me completely behind. Once a Mama, always a Mama is my motto.
Old tradition speaks of a three-faced goddess who shares the aspects of Maiden, Mother and Crone. On one hand this division can be explained completely biologically: pre-menarche, fertile and post-menopausal; on the other it’s an emotional progression from girl to woman to – well, there is no other word for it but “crone!”
“Crone” has always been one of my least-favorite words. Not only does it just sound ugly, it’s derived from the Old Northern French word “caroijne,” meaning “carrion.” That’s right, gals! Once we’re no longer in the Breeder category, we’re filed under “the decaying flesh of dead animals!”
Well, I’m taking “Crone” back.
For one thing, now that someone who’s 50 can reasonably expect to live another 30 years, it’s ludicrous to consider the end of the child-rearing window the end of a woman’s vitality.
For another, there are a lot of us out here. I’m near the tag-end of the Baby Boomer generation and there are at least two generations of people before us who are nowhere near finished yet!
There is no graduation ceremony for a Mom who’s done a good job – no gold watch, no processional, and no speeches. As with so much else related to motherhood, the only thing people can tell you is that “you’ll know it when it happens.” I’m not quite ready to join Mollie on the stand as a Mother Emeritus (I’ve got at least another year of hands-on work to do before Jack and Sassy graduate from high school), but I can tell that something’s happening.
I plan to document my journey into Cronehood. The only thing I know for sure is that (like motherhood) it is not for the faint of heart – nor (me being me) will it be for the timid of ear.
Whether you’re a maiden, a mother or a sister-Crone, won’t you join me?
If we're going anyhow, we may as well have a few laughs along the way!