Happy Mother’s Day to you!

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.

My mom was better to me than I will ever know.

My mom was probably better to me than I know.

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.

 

10 responses to “Happy Mother’s Day to you!

  1. …thanks for the memories. Mothers’s Day is a challenging day for me and this year marks 20 years since I lost my mom. Treating my husband’s mother to a day at the Decorator Show House has become a tradition she loves and I think my mom is happy about that. Mom always did sweet things for others…usually for no reason…which made them all the sweeter.
    As another childless woman I hadn’t given much thought to those I might have “mothered.” Thank you for that thump. I know when I catch myself giving what I consider motherly advice I preface the delivery with an apology – “…forgive me for being maternal but …” What’s with that? You made me realize that perhaps what makes it motherly is that it comes from caring … Otherwise it’s just the voice of experience, right?
    I find myself grateful that I had three moms. My mom who taught me everything from sock darning to asparagus cleaning and that doing your best is what’s important. Her sister my Aunt Thelma who helped me memorize the 23rd Psalm before I was 9 and wrapped the most beautiful Christmas presents with handmade ribbon roses. And my stepmom Dorothy who made a great life for my dad and helped me learn the joy of serving when we got up at o’dark thirty to make homemade donuts for her weekly church bake sale. (Just to clarify, I did it twice, she did it weekly… all summer.)
    I keep their pictures by my bathroom sink so I remember to thank them each night and each morning before I leave the house. I want to live my life filled with the bits and pieces of all they invested in me.
    Thank you for your faithful writing and those thumps on the side of the head.

    • Thank you for sharing your thoughts about all your mothers and mothering. We mother each other – throughout our lives – and I think it makes us all richer in the process. You are one of my favorite mothers!

  2. Rock on! There are many that need to hear these words!

  3. Very nicely said, Kris. Well done.

  4. I should have referred to our mothers’ ancestry rather than religion. Our maternal grandmother was of Dutch and Welsh ancestry and our maternal grandfather of Scotch and Irish.

  5. Very nice! I couldn’t have come up with anything as fitting. Thank you for saying what we all need to be conscious of. Happy Mother’s Day!

  6. How beautifully you wrote what I think everyday. I miss my mom too, more than I can express. And I wish I had my own children and grandkids. But that was not to be. But I can always be grateful for my mom and my sister and friends. Thank you Kris for reading my mind. Happy Mother’s Day!

  7. Great column, Kristine. I share many of the same feelings. How did those Methodist women who married Slovak men learn how to make such great Halupki? My dad worked shift work at SOCO for all of my childhood. His days off were Tuesday and Wednesday for many years. Yet my mom managed to keep five kids in line, then seven (maybe I don’t count because I was pretty much gone from home when six and seven came along – and then there were eight and I was gone. And our mothers did it all without a smart phone or a computer or you name it.

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