Despite all my warnings on Tuesday, there is something very magical about being a foster, kinship, or adoptive, or birth mother on Mother's Day. The typical heart decorating cards and flowers and candy boxes is a deep red, solid heart like a child's simply drawn heart. But that is not the kind of loving heart I want to celebrate today. I want to celebrate a much deeper, more confusing, more complicated, but wonderful loving heart. The heart represented by this illustration:
When I was writing my book of meditations I knew right away that I wanted a heart on the cover... a caring heart. But, how does one show a caring heart? I considered filling it with examples of caring... hugs, holding hands, helping with homework, reading a story, putting a bandaid on a knee... an assortment of those images. Instead, I decided to be more abstract. In talking with the artist who designed my "caring heart" illustration I said I wanted the heart to be complex, to have confusion, twists, turns, rough edges and smooth, prickly parts, corners, and overlapping sensations all encased in loved. I was delighted with her final design, shown here [and on all of my Sunday Caring Heart posts].
For me it captures wonderfully the turbulence, complexity, bubbling nature of the complicated love of a foster, kinship, and adoptive parent.... not to mention the complicated love of birth parents too! It also shows the way that parents can love each child not less or more than another, but each for his or herself, individually, differently, deeply. I am very proud of this Caring Heart illustration... [the creation of one of my daughters, Anna]. And, on this Mother's Day and every day I take a moment to say how much I love each of my children..... birth, foster, kinship, and adoptive. Each of you... individually, differently, complexly, and oh so very deeply.
Artwork by Anna Parker David from the book cover for "The Caring Heart Speaks: Meditations for foster, kinship, and adoptive parents" by Gail Underwood Parker