Tomorrow is Mother’s Day. My mom died when I was seventeen years old. At seventeen, I was kind of self-absorbed, and it took a long time to sink in. I don’t think I was worse than any other teenager, but I’m calling it like I see it. When she died, I thought that Mother’s Day was the worst so called holiday ever invented, and if I couldn’t be included then I hated it. There would be activities for moms and daughters, and even if it was something like a cross country run through quicksand that we would never in a billion years do, I became angry. After a few years of indignant ranting toward Mother’s Day, I got over myself and just ignored it for the most part.
When I had children, suddenly I was a mom. I was on the other side of the fence. I still have the first Mother’s Day gift I received; a piano music box that plays “Edleweiss” from the Sound of Music. It has “I love you mom, Michael” engraved on the front. I am playing it right now with tears rolling down my ridiculous face. Sheesh. But, I never knew I could love a little being that much. Of course since he was all of about 7 months old, he may have had a little help picking it out (thanks, John). Suddenly I loved Mother’s Day. The years of child raising were the happiest of my life. Against all odds, I thought everything would stay the same and I was fine with that.
Then before I could turn around, they grew up. They fledged, as my sister says. One of my favorite poems is by Kahlil Gibran and starts out with “your children are not your children.” It basically says that children are like arrows, and they are sons and daughters of life’s longing for itself. They do not belong to us. My children are all out in the world now, and we certainly need good people in the world. It’s both natural and exciting to watch them make their way. They don’t need me anymore, at least not in the sense they did.
Does that mean I’m not a mom? Gosh, no. That’s a title that is non-refundable. You don’t stop being a mom just because your kids aren’t with you, or don’t need you to worry about them or feed them (oh, but I still try…) I have found other ways to be a mom. I have two cats and a Chester to mother. I can always feed them—they don’t mind. I guess you could correlate Chester’s weight gain with my need to nurture..if so, I guess my need is significant. I can mother other people. I don’t care if they are younger than me or not, doesn’t matter. I can use some of my mothering attributes with my grandchildren (mostly the good ones!) When I retire I’m sure there will be other avenues to explore.
We tend to limit our cultural view to a very defined vision of motherhood. Not necessary, people! To be a mother is open for interpretation. You can be a role model, a rock, a counselor, an inspiration, an advocate, a resource or any of the above plus more. On Mother’s Day, be kind to yourself. As Gibran says, “For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.” Happy Mother’s Day!
PS. On the weekends, I don’t get up at 5:45am. Therefore, it is lighter out. I took a picture of Chester on our walk, on what we call the bunny trail. He is joining me in saying Happy Mother’s Day to all😊