War Diaries, July 12, 2022

The weather has turned suddenly to Autumn.  I’m wearing my sweater and scouring through books of poetry and remembering books I once had, books like “Of Woman Born” and “The Yellow Wallpaper” which I gave away in a fit of passion to other women whom I thought needed them, but now wishing I had them in hand to thumb through their pages, far reaching in their wisdom as they are, for I have nothing myself terribly profound to say today.


Room 11: Anastasia, her sister and their mother are returning to Ukraine on Thursday.  Paul and Jordan will drive them to the Polish border town of Przemyśl where they plan to take a train to Lviv, then to Zaporizhzhia.  Their menfolk are waiting there. Plus, the cat.  Yes, I know.  Zaporizhzhia, under viscous attacks the past few days, but they’ve been told that it’s relatively calm now, and they’re only returning to pack their things and then move west.  It will take a few weeks for the whole process to complete itself before they will be one family again, living in Lviv.  This is the story I will carry close to heart until they write from their new home.  It’s a risk, but perhaps a more calculated one with Russian eyes elsewhere for the moment.  The other residents are wary and there are tears of concern.


The roads are unpredictable.  There are land mines along many of them. And how far will they have to travel alone or on public transport before their husbands and father reunite with them?


I understand why they are moving back.  Ksenia needs to take an entrance exam for the university or else lose a whole year of school, but I’m not sure if this is the motivation of their decision, at least, not in its entirety.  They are homesick.  They miss their husbands and father.  How could they not?  Are they even completely conscious of why they left a protected space for one of potential danger, grave danger?


As Paul would say, “This is not the right question to ask.”  Not the right question because it either has no answer or the answer is unknown to all participating parties.


So, what’s my question?  The truth is, I don’t have an answerable question.  I only have unanswerable ones.  Like this one for example: are governments necessary?  In true Tolstoyan fashion I beg the question because as far as I can tell, they breed patriarchy, grandiosity and patriotism, all of which cause dreadful wars, brutality and the killing of innocent people, most of whom are women, children and the vulnerable. They make laws to possess and occupy but not to honor and respect.  Is it any wonder why we live in such violent times?


When a young boy sees his mother treated disrespectfully, abused at home by men, and then must witness further her acceptance of such treatment, it will ultimately lead to the conditioning of violence.  We are devolving at the present time in our attitudes of apathy and inertia, and the system in which we live is broken.  There is no dependable leadership on the global stage.  From where I stand, women all over the world are at risk.  They and their children have become the scapegoat for what the collective cannot bear to look at within itself; therefore, it must control with an even tighter grip.


Meanwhile, the new face of those in exile, is of those whom are being asked to leave their ‘host home’ for a variety of reasons.  Some hosts claim to be tired and want the exiles out.  Five months is long enough, generous enough without much thought given to their vulnerability.  We also hear stories of great tension mounting in tight quarters.  But whatever the reason, this weekend we are receiving a grandmother and her thirteen-year-old grandson, whose mother is still in Bucha.  They will take Diana’s room, where our newborn stayed.


Following, we expect another family escaping from the Donbas region —senior parents with their daughter.  They will stay in Room 11, where Anastasia had been.  So, this is us again, at full capacity.


I don’t know what sent me to bookshelves looking for Rich and Gilman; I suppose the whole idea of ‘motherhood to mothering’ did.  Does anyone read these books anymore?  Do young mothers talk about boredom and the feeling of confinement?


I remember when Zach was small, and I really did enjoy being around him. He had this infectious laugh and was quite entertaining.  But then there were times when I didn’t enjoy it and I didn’t want to play but wanted to read and write and travel and be alone without the responsibility for another, yet there we were, the two of us, both in these dual embryonic states, each growing into our own evolving consciousness.  How does one stay the course these days?


It’s inherent in my nature to mother and to care for another, so I woke up every day committed to this little stick of a boy who hadn’t a care in the world, frequently having to remind myself that I was a good enough mother when I wasn’t so engaged or cheerful.


The test came again, in his adult years when he needed me once more, when the stakes were high as to whether we would succeed or not, bu, by grace, Paul and the amazing family we have, there was a victory.


In a world where the inhabitants are increasingly isolated and psychotic, one must wonder if the absence of care and commitment to care is one of the missing pieces to this puzzle.  When an overculture hasn’t systems in place for care or to care, then the whole of society reflects this —in some instances even justifies the premature turning out onto the street of those in need of long-term assistance.


It’s a big question, the question of how we mother ourselves, how we mother each other.  The question of sacrifice is invariably the first obstacle one encounters or the self-serving viewpoint of ‘what’s in it for me,’ ‘can’t be bothered,’ and this I fear is leading us down a dead-end road.


All this to say, that it’s not always easy, but when did easy become the goal?


As Jung pointed out, one holds the opposites until there is a transcendence.  What does that look like in an ordinary, domestic setting if we were to stay the course of motherhood to mothering?


It looks like a vibrant and healthy home, in which family members are at liberty to express themselves, their shadow, their fears and their aspirations.  It’s a place for good moods and bad ones.  A place of misunderstandings and reconciliations.  It’s a container for success and failure alike.  It’s a place of love and acceptance.