My home has been plagued with a vicious round of the spring sniffles. We’ve seen a fortnight of missed school, cancelled appointments, and generally undone plans. The kids now are going full tilt again, but my husband Steve and I are still struggling to keep our heads above water. The adult to child energy ratio is far off equilibrium. Nevertheless, while dosing with nourishing herbal teas and taking turns with the netty pot, I remind Steve (and, in actuality, myself) to accept what is; resistance only compounds our suffering. No wonder the card I drew for the week is Surrender.


Detail of River from The Mother’s Wisdom Deck

In The Mother’s Wisdom Deck, Surrender is the message of River: “She teaches us to heal ourselves by bowing to things as they are.” This is the deep work that mothering relentlessly serves up.

I ponder my current reality, tallying the quantum amount of energy I expend on ideas of how things should be—the laundry should be neatly folded and put away, the floor should be swept and mopped, the lettuces should be sprouting in the garden. With energy at a premium these days, I am exhausted before I even begin. This afternoon, the dirty clothes and seed packets can wait.

As my “shoulds” drift away, I feel the week’s struggle release its grip on my life. I retreat to the bedroom and reflect. These past days, my patience has worn thin and I’m guilty of picking petty fights. I have been swimming upstream, especially pushing against my son whose exuberance is overflowing the banks.

Haven RiverThe truth is that I am scared of him growing beyond my overprotective embrace and so I try to contain his youthful torrent. Foolish and futile, I say. With the Surrender card in hand, I recommit to letting go. I loosen the reins of control and expectation, and imagine riding the current alongside my boy, allowing his life to run its own course.

Renewed energy surges within as I go with the flow—flow with the wheezels and sneezles (thanks to Christopher Robin), the to do list, the phases of motherhood, and what is. When you fear the waters may be closing over your head, what might you surrender?