“But kids don’t stay with you if you do it right. It’s the one job where, the better you are, the more surely you won’t be needed in the long run.” (Barbara Kingsolver, Pigs in Heaven)
Today is Mother’s Day. A day when Moms get taken out to eat or maybe their husbands or children cook for them. Flower shops and card shops do well with many moms getting blooming gifts and that perfect card with a printed message that says exactly what you feel. Actually I like the handmade cards with words of love written inside. Things like “I love you, Mom” scrawled in crayon or marker inside a lopsided heart. Those cards have to be the best for a Mom.
I don’t remember if I handmade any cards for my mother or not. I know I did buy her flowers. Mother’s Day comes at the perfect time of the year to make flowers a great gift. May is the month we are all ready to start planting something and flowers cheer the soul after winter.
Who knows? This picture of Mom and her shadow, me, might even have been taken on a Mother’s Day when Mom was visiting her mother. Mom was a good daughter as well as a wonderful mother.
I married very young and became a mother myself at age seventeen. I know Mom thought I was too young, but she never told me so. I’m sure she thought I was doing things wrong at time with my babies because I’m sure I made many mistakes. But if she gave advice it was always with kindness and never made me feel inept. I don’t remember ever once doubting that my mother loved me and wanted the best for me. I always knew if I needed help, I could count on her. And I knew how much she loved my children. She gave me wings. Then she watched with joy when my kids began getting older and testing their wings.
Kids do grow up. That’s what you want if you are a mom. You want to work yourself out of a job and see them leave the nest to begin their own families. I’m glad that I always lived near my mother. We visited. We sat on the porch and watched the children play. We picked beans together and then canned them. We had fun together even when we were working. She taught me so much.
She took care of Dad through his final battle with cancer. A hard time. After he died, she never depended on us to keep her company or entertain her. She found friends, played cards, and traveled. Yet, I always felt like she was there for us too.
She was proud when I started getting some of my writing in print. After she died, we found all those magazines with my early stories saved in a dresser drawer. And she kept my books together on one of her tables in the living room. She was my biggest fan and oh, how I appreciated that. I needed somebody to believe in me.
At 91, her memory began fading and dementia stole the mom we’d always known who could handle anything. We had to start taking care of her through some difficult years. She was still our mom, but sometimes she didn’t remember us. She would have hated that. The old memories of her mom and dad were still there, but confused and twisted. Everything got confused and twisted, but there were still some smiles and moments of joy before life got too hard.
I imagine her now with nothing hard happening. She’s laughing with her sisters about the old memories. She’d walking along heaven’s byways and seeing wonders too amazing for us to even imagine.
So Happy Mother’s Day in heaven, Mom. Thank you for giving me love and teaching me how to be strong.
What do you want to thank your mother for today?