Those of us who have lost our mothers could slip into a sentimental funk this weekend, feel sorry for ourselves. But we’ve got the kids, right?, to help us celebrate? No? Ohhh, maybe you’re one of those “OMG I FORGOT TO HAVE CHILDREN” people. Well, rather than get all decked out for that pity party, I’ve got an idea. Let’s celebrate the mothers we’ve had and the mothers we are.
First, a toast to the mothers we’ve had.
Mom was a peach. My dad worked various shifts at the steel mill leaving her home to do the heavy lifting. She raised five of us and sat with bundles of grand babies, cooked countless meals, did umteen loads of laundry. She signed my report cards, went to choral concerts, tried her best to help with the dreaded New Math.
While I later realized she was “emotionally unavailable” during my early years, she more than met my needs. I thank her for homemade bread with butter and sugar, games after large family gatherings, and introducing me to so many things from choral singing to the joys of Halupki. She sewed my First Communion dress, bandaged my bloody ankle, had the nerve to teach me how to drive. Holy cow. She must have been nuts!
Nope, not nuts. But helpful, happy – except when she wasn’t, and fun. She laughed, sang, played “In My Solitude” on the piano that came with the house. In fact, our last conversation was over that piece. “Mom, what’s that song you always play?” “Oh, this one?” she said, launching into an arpeggio I’ll never forget. She had a stroke a week later.
Maybe it was because of all us kids, or my dad’s shift work, or being too busy in the family store but I somehow missed out on the talks about boys and marriage and having kids and … but her being away caused me to adopt other mothers. I’m fortunate for all the mothers I have in my life. From my sister and brother to a Scout leader, choir director, dorm mother. Some of you reading this have been mother to me more than once, whether you know it or not!
Whether you are male or female you’ve been Mother more than once in your life. You possess mothering traits such as kindness, empathy, unconditional love, the ability to mend a sock or clean a cut or fix a bowl of soup.
Consider the times you’ve supported someone in need, listened to a sad or happy story, counseled, nurtured. Ever go searching for an extra pair of gloves or a scarf to make sure a friend was warm enough? Ever make up your couch into comfortable bed?
Have you ever picked up a cake on the way to a party? Made your super sloppy joes for friend’s tailgate party? Sent a card for no reason? I could cry thinking of how much my mother-friends have helped me. I am so grateful to you.
I’m grateful for all the mothers I’ve had in my lifetime – men and women, relatives and not – who listened while I choked back tears, encouraged me to keep going, who told me I should do whatever I want as long as it makes me happy.
I feel certain my mother did more for me than I will ever know and I am grateful for knowing her. And thank you to all my moms. I celebrate each and every one of you. Thanks to your mother our world has you. Thanks to you, we all have many mothers.