The mother at the end of my block

April 7th, 2009


Just a few months after my daughter’s birth, I saw another mother on the corner at the end of my block. – Momma Zen

Amy Tiemann’s second edition of Mojo Mom is born today. It is an updated compendium of thoughtful questions and resources about rebuilding a healthy life after you become a mother. I just read it for the first time, although it was the second time. That’s what I’m told the second birth is like: not like the first, which you can’t remember anyway.

There is a story about me and Amy that I’m not sure she knows. And the story is this: she is the mother I met at the end of my block. We all have this mother. Another mother that you meet in a jolt of recognition in those first desolate months, the other mother to whom you will reveal yourself in the mutual reflection of empathy and acceptance. The mother with an extra ziplock bag of Cheerios in her stroller when yours have run out just as you start the steep homeward climb.

Amy was that mother not for the birth of my baby, although our daughters were born within weeks of one another. Amy is the mother I met on my block for the birth of my book.

A few months before the birth of Momma Zen, I started casting a crazed daze about the neighborhood. I’d started and finished the project in a creative cocoon, oblivious to what was already out there, unaware of what anyone else had written first or best. I highly recommend cocoons for all transformative processes. It is nature’s perfect way and thankfully requires no recommendation from me.

I ordered Amy’s book, her baby, just to confirm that it was not my own. We can all envision the movie-of-the-week hysteria that would overtake us should someone else leave the hospital with our baby! I read her book to check for family markings: the ear lobes, the nose, the big toe, and came away convinced. She had hers; and I had mine.

In the years since I have confirmed that and more. Amy has her own inimitable approach to this bottomless topic of life as a mother. She has a scientist’s mind, a seeker’s eye and a mother’s heart. She is overwhelmingly generous, kind and reassuring. If I am the priest at your bedside, she is the doctor. Believe me, you want to see the doctor well before the priest arrives.

In her book, Amy asks the questions we may be afraid to ask ourselves. They are practical, not spiritual, but can seem quite impossible and intangible in the early years. Questions about work, time, space, money, childcare, self-care, power and politics. Mojo Mom will leave you energized and activated, not agitated and polarized, as so much mommy talk can.

As life would have it, as it always will, Amy and I have walked these blocks, these years, in each other’s continuous company. With mutual respect and humor. As life would have it, as it always will, we will soon be walking the blocks in my very neighborhood when Amy comes to visit me in June. She and I will host a Mother’s Summer Reading Salon at Sierra Madre Books on Tuesday, June 23.

Can you believe it? I can’t, but I can trust this life exactly as it unfolds, as surely as you can trust yours and everyone in it.

Buy Amy’s book for any mother on your block this Mother’s Day. The block is both bigger and smaller than you think, and no one walks it alone.

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4 Comments »

  1. I love this image of you and Amy walking around and around the block together, energized and activated. The spiritual and the practical, arm in arm. How could it be otherwise?

    Comment by jena strong — April 8, 2009 @ 1:45 am

  2. If the only prayer you ever say in your whole life is “thank you,” that would suffice.

    Meister Eckhart

    I hope that is true, because how can I respond to such a lovely piece other than to say thank you?

    I am so happy that we’ll be together on June 23 in Sierra Madre!

    Comment by MojoMom — April 8, 2009 @ 10:50 am

  3. Thanks to your timely reminder, I am about to stop doing the “market research” that publishers insist I must do before submitting my book proposal (i.e. look at every other book ‘like’ mine and describe how they are similar and different, aka death knell to fearless, authentic creativity) and retreat into my writing cocoon!

    So glad you found Amy when your book babies were being born. Enjoy your event! Mother’s Day is in May in NZ so I’ll be doing another round of Momma Zen gifts then. Maybe Mojo Momma needs to be added to the package.

    Comment by Marianne — April 9, 2009 @ 9:05 pm

  4. Mojo Mom looks great, thanks for the review! I thought I would also share something beautiful with you and your readers – a documentary film about the Dalai Lama’s mother: The Great Mother. You can view trailers, find out when it shows on PBS, and buy copies at the link. Her life story is really interesting and the film is also about the great mother archetype and a wonderful watch. I was particularly touched by the candid interviews with the Dalai Lama, and the credit he gives to his mother for his life and position. He says that mother is older than religion, and that it is from mother that all religions are born.

    Comment by Amber — April 15, 2009 @ 7:54 pm

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