The real prayers are not in New York. Not in the Sears Tower or at the St. Louis Arch and definitely not among the birds of Bodega Bay. The real prayers are wherever a mother is. Astronauts, angels, and God know that the strongest beams of light stretching from earth to Heaven are whispered words from mothers. Ultra-violet, infra-red, fluorescent, gamma rays of neon prayers that push black holes aside on their way to God’s ear.
A mother is a Geiger counter watching for open holes, roadwork ahead, heavy traffic, and coupons for savings on hummus for her daughter and granola for her son. Her antennae are up. Her eyes are peeled. Motherhood, a high-voltage state without a shut-off switch. On call. On watch. On duty. There is no rest for the leery. To multi-task is primal. The goal is to be present in several locations at once and cook while time traveling. Time. Travel. I traded travel for motherhood and would trade anything for time.
Motherhood provides the most astonishing way to observe time through clothes outgrown and an accumulation of expensive school photos. And the way mother-child communications bloom from quiet eye contact to smiles to noises to words to attitude back to quiet to questions to companionship. And all this happens without a playbook. The chaos and routines, the showing-how, the wait-until, the dinner table talks, the don’t-forget-to-thank-Aunt-Ro-for-your-birthday-gift, did you take vitamins this morning? It’s all cellular, involuntarily instructional on a twenty-four-seven-eternity basis.
Motherhood. I’ve done it. I do it. I’ll continue to do it. I’ll be a monkey’s uncle in addition to being a mother if I know how I knew what to do. My babies arrived without a schematic. Only my five senses and about five cents’ worth of common sense kept us all alive. How grateful I am that worked. They’re adults now, my children. We made it.
The real prayers are not the words. The real prayer is the amen of kids becoming good citizens and career creatures and caring companions. Amen, I say.
After her thirty-five-year career as a fashion and beauty writer, Maureen Mancini Amaturo is now Fashion Editor and a contributing columnist for The Rye Record. She produces literary arts events for Manhattanville College, teaches Creative Writing, and leads the Sound Shore Writers Group, which she founded in 2007. She has been published in Parents, Glamour, Vogue, Redbook, and on designer websites. Maureen has had personal essays and humor pieces published by Ovunque Siamo, Bordighera Press, and Baseballbard.com, a poetic tribute to John Lennon published by the Beatlefest organization, and articles and celebrity interviews published in local newspapers and on line. Maureen holds a B.A. in English and an MFA in Creative Writing. She is currently working on a novel, a romantic comedy.