I heard and felt my son wriggle out of his sleeping bag and crawl out of the tent in one fluid, full-sensory instinct of motherhood. As the tent flap was peeled back, I opened my eyes to see the morning sky tinged a brilliant raspberry sherbet. I never was up early enough for break of day, but today I awoke like a spark of light on a matchstick.
It was the first morning that Kobe and I had slept side by side in at least six years. Joshua Trees were silhouetted against the pre-dawn, November sky. I pulled on sweats, Uggs, a scarf, hat, and grabbing my jacket, I scrambled on all fours out of the tent before Kobe could disappear into the dusk.
We had been estranged from each other for the past three years, beginning soon after I moved to a remote mountain town hundreds of miles away, days after Kobe’s high school graduation. I blamed myself for our disconnect. Consumed with “shoulds,” and regrets for leaving my son in his father’s care before college, I took Kobe to Belize in 2019, and more recently we spent months together in quarantine, working towards repairing the torn and ripped apron strings.
I wasn’t sure how to fill the liminal space after the active Mother years. I didn’t know who I was without the duties of motherhood. Some people call this Face of the Goddess, the Queen years. It does feel that I am the sovereign Queen of myself, ruled by no one.
My days are not spent making lunches, homeschooling, paying for college, or preforming any requisites for nurturing others. Self-care has become an art for me, and a daily ritual. When my monthly bleeding stopped, I discovered how to tend my inner fire with only what serves and nourishes my soul. Diving deeper into myself was on the to-do list every day.
And yet, in the stillness, there have been times, I stared at pictures of Kobe as a tot, longing for the days I had been a “better mother,” before the divorce. His older brother, Skyler, is in nearly every picture, because we three were a trio, a bond as tight as any age-old story of the power of three.
I saw our connection as nothing short of Divine, a mantra made manifest:
I am Goddess Diana of the Wild and they are Wolf Cubs.
I am Mother Faery and they are Princely Elves.
I am Queen, nearly a Crone, and they are Warriors.
To stand on this royal plinth as the Queen, I would have to accept all that has happened with grace. I would have to give up the notion that I could have done better, that I should have continued to accrue debt for one more summer, that I should have sacrificed more. Really? The Queen in me, shakes my head at such nonsense. It was time to grow up.
So, I asked Kobe for this weekend in Joshua Tree to make final amends with the Mother I was and the choices I made, so I could actualize the Queen I was becoming. I told my son I wanted to give him to himself, to trust that he knows what is best for him today.
“Far better than even me.” I blurted out.
We both burst into laughter. “I love you, Mama,” and he agreed to drive two hours and I traveled five hours to meet in the desert.
We explored Joshua Tree National Park and later, sitting around the firepit, ablaze with lodgepole pine I brought from home, we drank growlers of mountain water and beer. I brought him a chair and a blanket, knowing he would forget how cold winter can be in the desert. My surfer kid snuggled in his chair and I handed him the ceramic mug I made for him.
With a wry smile, I vowed I would learn how to parent him, as an adult with dignity for us both. In this way we could both fly to far reaching horizons and back to the comfort of the nest with implacable ease and no permission required.
“I will support your dreams,
not simply my dreams for you.”
I could feel the light touch of the Queen’s crown resting upon my head as I said these words.
“Thanks, Mama,” Kobe smiled in that way he did as a tot – all the way to his eyes.
I would be the wind beneath his wings, the same wings I helped him cultivate in the years of their youth when I asked the boys, “What’s my job as your Mama?”
“To love us and give us wings to fly,” they would reply in unison.
“That’s right!” was my response as I pulled them in for tight hugs.
I will watch him soar across the heavens he loves most. The tears on my cheeks felt like rivers of blessings, and consecration of my entry as a Queen, and over the glittering threshold into a “Room of My Own,” to take a leaf from Virginia Wolfe’s book.
It feels good to sit in that nest all by myself,
In this liminal space between Mother and Crone.
Learning to nourish the Queen within.
By my Will, so mote it be.
This I make true. Three times three times three.
Herstory… I first heard the term Queen in the Sage Woman Magazine column, The Queen’s Progress written by Lunaea Weatherstone, Priestess, Teacher and Author of Tending Brigid’s Flame. Lunaea is one of my teachers and guided my Priestess Path through her Sisterhood of the Silver Branch courses between 2003-2006. At the same time, I watched Ava Park, Priestess of the Orange County Temple of the Goddess, embody the power of the Queen at temple rituals.