CELEBRATING MOTHERHOOD

When my youngest daughter's first grade teacher began the ritual Mother's Day card lesson plan, she asked her students to answer some questions about their mums. It turned out to be my favorite mother's day card ever. My darling six year old answered the question, "How old is your mother?" by carefully writing the number 14 in my favorite Crayola color, Robin's Egg Blue. She had transposed my age. Experience had taught the teacher which questions to ask to elicit the most precious responses. What six year old, after all, has a clue how old their mother really is? Emily did, however, remember my favorite crayon color. 

Hanging on the walls of the staircase leading to our family playroom is a collection of colorfully framed "art" created by five children over a nineteen year span. It includes the obligatory bouquet of tissue pencil-spun flowers, and as my children attended the same school, a series of Picasso inspired self-portraits, and preserved in clay five-year old handprints. The nearest and dearest to my heart, however, are some poems my sunshine girl, Michaela, wrote when she was eight:

For You I Fly

With your help I aim so high
With your help I reach the sky
As you were the one who taught me to try
For you I fly

I'm Here

You are the one who is so dear
Because of you I have no fear
You fill my life with bowls of cheer
As you are the reason I am here 

On Mother's Day, it is the heartfelt sentiment that matters most. The small gestures of children (and sometimes husbands) that show appreciation for unpaid work, 24/7 shifts, homework help, taxi service, and sometimes for just doing what moms do best--show up. When times get rough, the staircase is a happy place. It is colorful, it is genuine, and it is a reminder of many years of all that was done right. 

Photographs commemorate cherished blips in time too. Why put photos in books and those albums in closets? Make it a point to set a different one out each month. It may come as a surprise how important these memories are to children too and how much fun it is to laugh about hairstyles or the size of one's glasses. Photos create bonding moments and a chance to remember old friends, relatives that have passed on, or maybe Spot as a puppy. It is, after all, a mother's task to anchor the family and to fill these albums. Sharing memories is a way to have Mother's Day extend throughout the year and one more way for a mother to make a connection to all the reasons this sometimes exhausting, albeit exhilarating, work is worth every moment.

So fitting is it that Mother's Day is celebrated in spring just as color begins popping through the landscape and filling gardens with life and color. Wrapped in damp newspaper and tied with satin ribbon, or delivered in a Mason jar with a simple note tied with kitchen twine, why not bring a smile to the most important mom's in your life? Grown with love muscari and backyard tulips are a simple pleasure and thoughtful gesture.

A dear friend living a thousand miles away shared that Mother's Day is her own day of atonement. Still relishing the lop-sided heart pancakes her children make for her annual breakfast-in-bed treat, she reciprocates with a card thanking them for making her a mother and letting them know just how cherished she is to have them to love. Ahh!

A poem as a parting seems most appropriate:

The most beautiful word on the lips of mankind is the word “Mother,” and the most beautiful call is the call of “My mother.” It is a word full of hope and love, a sweet and kind word coming from the depths of the heart. The mother is everything – she is our consolation in sorrow, our hope in misery, and our strength in weakness. She is the source of love, mercy, sympathy, and forgiveness….

Everything in nature bespeaks the mother. The sun is the mother of earth and gives it its nourishment of heart; it never leaves the universe at night until it has put the earth to sleep to the song of the sea and the hymn of birds and brooks. And this earth is the mother of trees and flowers. It produces them, nurses them, and weans them. The trees and flowers become kind mothers of their great fruits and seeds. And the mother, the prototype of all existence, is the eternal spirit, full of beauty and love.----Kahlil Gibran