Greetings ATS friends!
If I could travel temporarily to any time/place in the history of man, I’d likely chose to place myself in either the Salons of France or the Greek
Symposiums. Part of the draw of ATS is that it stands as a symposium of sorts, to which members gather to discuss issues of importance, to debate,
and to synthesize ideas.
A key aspect to the salon/symposium setting was the society (which is excellent here), as well as the imbibement of food and drink. In fact, the word
“symposiarch” refers to the symposium’s host tasked with determining the proper amount of drink (wine) to accompany each subject. Too little
may curb the merriment, too much cloud the mind.
As this thread’s symposiarch, I urge you to feel free to imbibe and make merry as much or little as you wish, in hopes you enter the Salon with free
of mind and care.
Here’s a link to Plato’s Symposium in case you haven’t read it yet and want to
A Mother’s Love
While Plato’s Symposium does mention the love a parent feels toward his/her offspring and attributes it to the want of immortality, I believe that
the remarkable love that a mother feels for her child is worth examining more deeply. (BTW: The Symposium discussed ideals, which is what I’ll
attempt to do here, knowing that, sadly, not all of us fit or even approach the ideal.)
A mother’s love is a union of opposites. While a degree of immortality is achieved through generation, few are more aware of our fragile and
ephemeral mortality than a mother. All the hazards of the world are revealed to a new mom, whose sole responsibility is to protect her offspring from
harm. Stairs, pools of water, cars, strangers, fevers, foods, pull cords, balloons, plastic bags, sharp edges, cleaning supplies, among other
previously inanimate and unremarkable objects, become potentially fatal dangers against which mothers (among other caregivers, of course) are the
primary defense. Constant vigilance is a state many mothers know well. And experience teaches us that fate has a mind of its own and that, despite
our best efforts, even the best laid plans and ardent hopes are sometimes thwarted. Tragedy strikes blindly. Hence, even though a mother is immersed
in the business of living and raising life, death too is a constant companion.
Who can deny the pleasure of welcoming a new soul into the world, nurturing it, and watching it grow? The moment her baby is placed in her arms, a
mother’s life changes forever. It changes in ways that a mom doesn’t even notice until she becomes aware that this little being has now
supplanted herself in order and importance, that now the choicest morsels are automatically reserved for another. In the process of feeding, washing,
holding, comforting, and swaddling her child the bond formed is both mental and physical. Each new development, though a delight to see, marks the
end of a precious stage. Moreover, many adults hold the notion that childhood has inherent value, that the wonder and innocence of youth is worthy of
protection, and a mother’s perspective is to see firsthand the loss of childhood innocence. Equally hard to see emerge in one’s child is human
frailty and error. Undoubtedly, we want our children to succeed; but they also must fail, and learn to fail well. The balance is very delicate and
difficult to achieve, let alone internalize. For these reasons and for others, joy and pain often come to a mother hand-in-hand.
Another union of opposites accompanying a mother’s love is familiarity and individuality. Though a mother and child start out as one united being,
the remainder of their existence together is a slow distancing while forming new ways of relating as developing individuals. From birth, cutting the
cord, and weaning, to the realization that one’s child has a rich hidden inner life and the reigns to his/her own fate within, motherhood requires
finding a balance between pushing away and pulling in. A mother’s love knows well our close bond as well as the vast distance between and finds
ways to reconcile the two.
If you’re still around, please pull up a chair and stay for an ATS symposium! What are your ideas on the subject of love?