Selections from ‘Bed and Board’ by Robert Farrar Capon
“To be a Mother is to be the sacrament — the effective symbol — of place. Mothers do not make homes, they are our home: in the simple sense that we begin our days by a long sojourn within the body of a woman; in the extended sense that she remains our center of gravity through the years. She is the very diagram of belonging, the where in whose vicinity we are fed and watered, and have our wounds bound up and our noses wiped. She is geography incarnate, with her breasts and her womb, her relative immobility, and her hands reaching up to us the fruitfulness of the earth.
…The mother is the geographical center of her family, the body out of whom their diversity springs, the neighborhood in which that diversity begins ever so awkwardly to dance its way back to the true Body which is the Mother of us all. Her role then is precisely to be there for them. Not necessarily over there, but just there–therenessitself, if you will; not necessarily* in* her place but place itself to them; not necessarily at home but home itself…But remember, you are a landmark…You are and remain the bodily link with our origin. You are the oldest thing in the world; don’t be in a hurry to forget any of your history.
..You are not only a link with something. You are the thing itself; and you are the sacrament, the instrument, by which we learn to love the things that are. Your body is the first object any child of man ever wanted. Therefore dispose yourself to be loved, to be wanted, to be available. Be there for them with a vengeance. Be a gracious, bending woman. Incline your ear, your heart, your hands to them. Be found warm and comfortable, and disposed to affection. Be ready to be done by and to welcome their casual effusions with something better than preoccupation and indifference.
…Children love fat mothers. They like them because while any mother is a diagram of place, a picture of home, a fat one is a clearer diagram, a greater sacrament. She is more there. I can think of no better wish to all the slender swans of this present age than to propose them a toast: May your husbands find you as slim as they like; your children should always remember you were fat.”
*Courtesy of *drunkwithjoy.