“Think for a minute, darling: in fairy tales it’s always the children who have the fine adventures. The mothers have to stay at home and wait for the children to fly in the window.”
― Audrey Niffenegger, The Time Traveler’s Wife
I was thinking today that Mother’s Day is right around the corner.
Maybe you’re the kind of mother who is cherished, and in high anticipation for MD? Or, maybe you’re a mother who wants to sleep through Sunday May 13th, and not wake up until Monday 14th? I don’t know? But Mother’s Day is going to come one way or another.
And, for those of you who haven’t held a child in your womb for nine months, who haven’t gone through hours of hard labor to deliver the love(s) of your life, and who do not understand the bond you will always have with your children… I hope you’ll still want to read my post. Because we ALL have a mother or we wouldn’t be reading this, would we?
Clearly Mother’s Day does not paint the same picture for all of us. There are mothers out there who are delivered breakfast in bed, with roses, and coupons full of kisses to last a year. They have homemade cards, gifts, and watch cartoons snuggled up with their children all day long.
There are mothers out there who’s children are grown. Their children plan a special gathering at a local eatery or take them to a movie that their “mother” wants to see. They bring them a special plant, or chocolates, or maybe a favorite book?
There are mothers who never hear from their children let alone receive a gift. (gulp)
There are mothers that live miles away from their children and are greeted by Skype or Facetime. They hear, “I miss you and I love you” via satellite.
There are mothers who are torn from their children due to a bitter divorce, or abuse, or worse.
There are mothers who are lying in a hospital bed, while their children gather around them.
There are mothers who lie in a hospital bed with no one around them.
… and mothers whom have passed, with children who wish they could be with them.
“When God Created Mothers”
When the Good Lord was creating mothers, He was into His sixth day of “overtime” when the angel appeared and said. “You’re doing a lot of fiddling around on this one.”
And God said, “Have you read the specs on this order?” She has to be completely washable, but not plastic. Have 180 moveable parts…all replaceable. Run on black coffee and leftovers. Have a lap that disappears when she stands up. A kiss that can cure anything from a broken leg to a disappointed love affair. And six pairs of hands.”
The angel shook her head slowly and said. “Six pairs of hands…. no way.”
It’s not the hands that are causing me problems,” God remarked, “it’s the three pairs of eyes that mothers have to have.”
That’s on the standard model?” asked the angel. God nodded.
One pair that sees through closed doors when she asks, ‘What are you kids doing in there?’ when she already knows. Another here in the back of her head that sees what she shouldn’t but what she has to know, and of course the ones here in front that can look at a child when he goofs up and say. ‘I understand, and I love you’ without so much as uttering a word.”
God,” said the angel touching his sleeve gently, “Get some rest tomorrow….”
I can’t,” said God, “I’m so close to creating something so close to myself. Already I have one who heals herself when she is sick…can feed a family of six on one pound of hamburger…and can get a nine-year-old to stand under a shower.”
The angel circled the model of a mother very slowly. “It’s too soft,” she sighed.
But tough!” said God excitedly. “You can imagine what this mother can do or endure.”
Can it think?”
Not only can it think, but it can reason and compromise,” said the Creator.
Finally, the angel bent over and ran her finger across the cheek.
There’s a leak,” she pronounced. “I told You that You were trying to put too much into this model.”
It’s not a leak,” said the Lord, “It’s a tear.”
What’s it for?”
It’s for joy, sadness, disappointment, pain, loneliness, and pride.”
You are a genius, ” said the angel.
Somberly, God said, “I didn’t put it there.”
― Erma Bombeck, When God Created Mothers
We are living in a society that dedicates their energies toward the support of our children (and thank God for that). But we also need to remember our parents and grandparents, who are often forgotten. In today’s society kids frequently leave their Mom’s eating their dust. It was so different in my era. Regardless of how we felt about our mother we respected her. Then we became parents, and we understood her. (Note: I’m speaking about mother’s because Mother’s Day is coming up… but the same goes for fathers).
Tyler Cowen wrote an article in Marginal Revolution about Why American kids don’t respect their parents anymore? 9 possible mechanisms for this are:
- American parents have less time to discipline their kids, in part because women are more likely to work, wages are higher, and there is a general rush and hurry.
- American culture is less closely tied to the entire notion of hierarchy and respect, whether or not kids are in the picture.
- The American divorce rate is relatively high.
- Balance is difficult, and a tipping point requires that someone be in charge. In America that is the kids, although the underlying reasons for this difference may be quite small.
- America is saturated in mass media, and that culture encourages the independence of the child, most of all because children are prime viewers of TV and drivers of Nielsen ratings.
- Americans are more mobile, and thus less likely to live near grandparents, support structures, and other mechanisms of norm enforcement.
- It is simply a time trend. Americans are ahead of the rest of the world but everyone else is catching up. Give them time, it’s just like how we will all come to resemble California someday.
- “In America it depends on how parents behave and whether particular parents deserve to be treated with respect. Parents don’t get respect automatically just because they are parents.” I’m not going to tell you who said that one.
- Some other notion of American exceptionalism.
So, here’s the deal, my blogpost tonight is about valuing our Mothers, and taking a moment to remember them. Yes, some of you might have a toxic mother, but some of you think that you have one and don’t have a clue. Mothers are human: they make mistakes, they say the wrong things, and they may even embarrass you. But mothers will also love you like no one else in the world.
Washington Irving said, “A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.”
Tonight, I was over at my 82-year-old Momma’s house, and we were discussing some really terrible family news. Our hearts were breaking, and as I glanced over at her I saw the young girl she once was. I saw her heart breaking, and a scared look in her eye. And I held her like she’s always held me. In many ways our roles are reversing… and if you’re not at that point in your life yet, you will be someday. If you’re lucky enough.
When I was younger, my mom and I had a typical mother/daughter relationship. We argued and had very little in common; yet, we loved each other all the same. There are many theories out there about the “whys” of this topic, but that’s not what this post is about. This post is about weathering the storm. It’s about love being the victor of all things. It’s about remembering that our mothers are human and that the love that ties us together never breaks away. We mother’s love our children, period. And we children need to love our mothers, period.
Before I close tonight, I want to share my mothers’ and my favorite Mother’s Day gifts:
My Momma’s favorite gift (from me):
I was a broke young mother… and when I say broke? I mean BROKE. But I really wanted to get my momma something special for MD. No matter how I cut it, I just couldn’t come up with enough money to buy her a special gift that year. So, I sat for about a week stewing over what to do, when all of a sudden, I got an idea (thank you Lord… I know the idea came from you). I got on my hands and knees and dug through my hand-me-down china cabinet. I was looking for a glass jar I had saved from my Dad. He received these jars filled with pistachios every year from his clients, and he had an abundance of them… so he shared them with me.
Once I found the glass jar, I cut up little strips of colored paper that I had lying around from me and my sons craft projects. On the pieces of paper, I wrote down all the ways I thought she was special, all they ways I thought she was beautiful, all of my favorite memories of her, things we used to do together, my favorite meals she made me, etc. Then I folded them up and threw them in the glass jar. I made a homemade tag that said, “treats of love”. And I wrapped the gift up in pretty pink tissue paper, with a ribbon.
When she opened it up, she looked a little confused. I told her they were treats of love to be devoured throughout the year. I told her that whenever she was hurting or having a bad day, to grab a treat from her dish! She reached her hand in the dish and grabbed out a folded piece of paper and read what was written on it. A huge smile spread across her face. She reached in and grabbed another one, and as she read it, I saw her eyes get teary.
“This is such a beautiful gift honey.” She said.
And you know what? She still talks about that gift today. She has told me many times throughout the years, that it was her favorite, most cherished gift I had ever given her. She said that she reread those little pieces of paper over and over again.
Mother’s Day should not be a “have to” commercial holiday. It should be something that comes from the heart. Something that really shows our Mothers why we love them, and how much we love them.
Lastly, I thought I’d share my favorite Mother’s Day gift.
It was my first Mother’s Day as a single Mommy, and it was very hard for me. My boys father and I had been divorced for about 4 months (if I remember correctly). But I had it in my head the night before that I was going to have a special day with my sons. I was going to wake up in the morning with a big smile on my face. My day was going to be dedicated to my love for them. They were only 6 and 7 years old, and I had been trying so hard to give them a little “normalcy” in their lives. So off to bed I went thinking about things we could do together that would be fun and free.
The next morning came and I felt Joshie (my baby) nudging me…. “Mommy, Happy Mother’s Day!” I tried focusing on him through my sleepy eyes and noticed a huge grin on his face. “We made you coffee and breakfast in bed!” Luke said. “You made me coffee?” “Yes! We know how!” Let me just say right now that my kids have always known how much I love my coffee! Lol.
I scrunched myself up onto my pillow (another adjustment, I was sleeping on a single mattress now… no longer a big queen size bed, and I had no headboard to lean against). Luke put a tray on my lap, while Joshie handed me my coffee.
I looked at my boys and wanted to cry. Not only were they the cutest boys in the world with their beautiful blonde hair and big blue eyes. But they had the most beautiful hearts in the world too. How could they have done this at their ages? How could they have remembered Mother’s Day? How did they make this coffee? And breakfast? (cheerios with a little milk, and a granola bar). But I can honestly say, to this day, that was the best breakfast and hot cup of java I’ve ever had.
It came from the heart, and those are the best gifts of all.
As Mother’s Day approaches, I pray that all you mothers feel loved and worthy. I pray that you and your child(ren) have a glorious day, filled with beautiful memories.
For all of you who are hurting or in pain tonight I’m praying healing over you. That you remember just how wonderful you are, and that tomorrow always brings us a new day filled with renewed hope. You are special and unique, never forget that.