Mother's Day. It's one of those recognized days that fell by the wayside for me in 1983 when my mother passed away. I dutifully bought cards for my mothers-in-law (because although I've only had one husband, I had two MILs simultaneously) but never looked forward to it, never made a big whoop-di-do. Never. . .until I had my own kids. Mother's Day took on a new meaning; an appreciation and excitement because my kids were so proud of their gifts. What could be better than a mayonnaise jar full of "daisies" - the sunshine yellow dandelions teeming in our yard? Or the rock that one child, with a red Sharpie, meticulously wrote:
Happy mothers day mom
My kids made Mother's Day beautiful again. But in all of this, I've learned that the loss of my mom at such a young age profoundly affected how I look at mothering in general. And, I've learned that all (and I'm sure someone will argue this but I'm not participating) women are mothers whether they have children, or are sisters or friends. We mother each other. And because I've come to realize that I am searching for the mother in everyone I meet, probably to fill a continual empty space, I've gleaned some nuggets of advice that I carry with me.
To Lydia- Who, when I was lamenting the misfortune of someone with whom I had a dicey relationship with and feeling guilt about having unkind thoughts about them just prior to their misfortune (I know, long sentence, try to keep up), pointedly asked, "What makes you think you have that much power in the world to think a thought in your brain could cause someone else misfortune? You're not that important!"
To Melissa- Who, when I was in a moment of frenzy between double-booked commitments, reminded me to remember that, "The important things get done." It's simple as that and makes perfect sense. Think about it.
She also is the one who wisely recommended that when you use a paper towel to open the public restroom door to exit, if you must, throw the paper towel on the floor when you leave. If there isn't a trash can by the door, there will be one there soon enough. She's right.
To Lou- Who taught me that an open mind is essential for growth and that standing in judgment of others is a dangerous place to stand. How did she do this? By the way she raised her kids, honored her calling (she is a gifted teacher who STILL teaches into her 80s) with truly needy kids in her basement after school, every day, fostered kids whose racial make-up was a direct contrast to our lily white neighborhood and lives her life in a luminescent peace. So effective is she that she has no idea how important she is to me.
To Judy - My mom's best friend whose fight with cancer preceded my mom by 5 years but, I believe prepared us all to face it with humor. And of course, she knew the value of "lemonade" - the code word for vodka laced beverages enjoyed in the afternoon by both Sally and Judy as they melted into fits of giggles and private jokes.
There are more - a book full, actually. My kids resuscitated Mother's Day for me and taught me to enjoy it but, there are myriad women every day who rescue me. Happy Mother's Day to all of you and those I've yet to meet!