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There I am again, standing in the check out line at the grocery store unconsciously rocking a can of tomato juice with the same tenderness I rocked my infant child. It's an occupational hazard; once you are a mother, you will, for the rest of your life, automatically cuddle, hum to and rock anything larger than an egg. The sound of the word Mother will send your head reactively twirling, whenever you hear any small voice call Mommy. Regardless of the fact, it has been over thirty years since you heard your youngest call Mommy with the same desperation. The biological wiring whether overtly and actively used or not, remains in place. And should you, if you are of the age before seatbelts (yes, there was a time) make a sudden stop while driving, you will automatically thrust your arm across the passenger seat to protect the phantom child for whom your responsibility stopped years ago, that same child who now has a grown child of her own and shoves her arm across passenger seats at sudden stops and rocks her own can of tomato juice in the grocery line on the other side of the country.
Andrea Steffens, PhD is first a mother and grandmother and secondly teaches memoir writing workshops and does commentaries on public radio. She is working her way back as a performance poet. Recently retired as a Jungian psychotherapist but continues to give classes on the mother/daughter relationship and the spiritual meaning of Beauty.