Ingrid Goff Maidoff - Tending Joy

Celebrating Poetry, Beauty,
& the Sacred Essence of Joy

A Blessing for Motherhood

I am reposting this article from my original website with much nostalgia…my girls are women now…  !!!

I am so glad you are here… It helps me realize how beautiful my life is.”

~Rainer Maria Rilke

When my daughter Isabella was four, she would drape herself in silky shawls and scarves and glide about the house, one bare hip exposed as her knots came loose. Every color was represented, from peach to purple to gold. She wore a pale green hat just above her sparkling blue eyes. She carried an empty purse, and a book with blank pages inside, as rich with possibility as her young life.

“I’m a gypsy,” she’d say. “I sleep in doorways because I am poor.”

“Come, my darling,” I would say. “It is night now. Let me put you in your bed.”

“This is not a bed,” she would smile, engaging me in her fantasy. “Let’s pretend it’s a shed in the garden of someone who’s very kind.”

And I would think:

“I am so glad you are here…

It helps me realize how beautiful my life is.”

When my daughter Rose was as young, she would declare with great contentment, “When I grow up, I’m going to stay in this house with you forever!” I would mention that she is welcome to stay, but she may want to have her own house. To this she would reply, “Then I will build a house next door, and you could come for tea. Or I would come visit you, and we could have tea. We could drink tea and tea and tea!”

And I would think:

“I am so glad you are here…

It helps me realize how beautiful my life is.”

I feel wealthy with such exquisite memories, and I find myself cherishing the present as well. Sometimes, when my husband and I are working together in the garden, or cooking a meal in the kitchen, he will turn to me, and his smile will seem to say,

“I am so glad you are here…

It helps me realize how beautiful my life is.”


And I will marvel for a fleeting moment at the swift passage of time. I will remember my brief monastic life in the White Mountains Of New Hampshire. He arrived shortly after I’d settled in for a life of solitude, to lure me willingly away with the promise of travel and good company. Now, more than twenty years later, I’ll stand in the kitchen, surveying the clutter of art projects, sprouting seedlings, and crumbs from supper. Someone else’s choice of music will be pouring from the stereo, and baby chicks peeping away in the study nearby. All in all, we live in a tender balance of serenity and cheerful chaos.

Yet more often than not, I open my mouth and out pours a complaint: “Who spilled cheerios on the stairs?…How many times do I have to ask you to put away your shoes? The kitchen table is not meant to be a repository for every stray thing…If you don’t stop squabbling, I shall melt in utter despair…”

I don’t like complaining. I don’t like the shrill sound of that voice. Sometimes, when I become still, allowing myself to savor the divine present and my delicious memories, I remember who I really am. I become filled with gratitude for my life and the people who share it. They remind me over and over again of life’s magic, and the gifts of silliness, beauty, innocence, and play. And I think:

“I am so glad you are here…

It helps me realize how beautiful my life is.”

These words of Rilke are the perfect blessing for Motherhood. Actually, they are perfect for the company we keep at any chapter in life. As we offer this blessing to our children, spouses, family and friends, affirming the beauty of our world and their welcome place in it, life seems even more sweet. It absolutely does.

Tags: , , Posted in MotheringJoy |

3 Responses

  1. Cate says:

    Words to remember when they are middle schoolers and teenagers….

  2. katy taylor says:

    thank you, ingrid. i always look forward to your Joy postcards in my inbox and now i want to say back to you: “I am so glad you are here… It helps me remember how beautiful my world is.”
    blessings, katy

  3. Lorraine says:

    I love this article…I read it some time ago and have read it again several times. You have a wonderful gift with words and a talent to create beautifully. Thank you for sharing it with all of us…

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