Sunday, May 13, 2007

Assorted Musings on Mother's Day

My friend mentioned she doesn't like Mother's Day. She may post about why that is, and I'll probably agree with whatever she says. Her words always encourage me to think about things differently. For the record, I like it. (Thinking differently... and Mothers Day. Both.)

I remember when my kids were in grade school they'd come home on Friday with hand-made cards—class project. The greetings were generally as creative as the teacher involved, sometimes humorous. Drawings were big, question and answer sessions... I like my mother to cook: (fill in the blank) My mother is prettiest when: (fill in the blank) I love my mother because: (fill in the blank) I saved those cards for years... my sentimentality for them long exceeded my sentimentality for the macaroni Christmas ornaments they brought home.

I don't know who invented Mother's Day. I could have looked it up, and given you the history, but you can google it yourself. I do that (google information for my blog) sometimes... so I'll appear more intelligent than I really am. And I actually am pretty smart about some things. I have excellent reading comprehension, decent grammar, good spelling (if not typing) skills. I'm creative and productive, have most always been able to earn a living. My learning curve is suffering with old age, but I guess that's to be expected.

"Street smart" I have never been. Naive would be a better term... or gullible, perhaps. As a child, I was sheltered from violence, gang wars, drive-by shootings. I was not sheltered from child molestation, but neither was I traumatized by it. It left its scar, but one that was barely visible. I wonder about the scars (visible and otherwise) left on my children... how my neglect, insecurity, inability to set boundaries, and bad choices have affected them in ways they are still dealing with.

That is all in my past, I cannot change any of it. What I can do now, is love them with all my heart, let them know it in as many ways possible, and wish them well. Oddly enough it appears I've been given a second chance at mothering to some of our elderly sisters, who grow more child-like every day. They spill, break dishes, go out alone without telling anyone, lose their place in the Daily Office... lose their glasses, or cane. They ask a thousand questions... tell me the same story again and again... yet I take it in stride without much annoyance. I have more patience, more compassion with them than I did with my own kids. (Maybe growing old does that too.)

When I was little, everyone wore a carnation on Mother's Day. There was a code: if your mother was alive, you wore red or pink. If she was dead, you wore white. I never wore a white carnation because somewhere along the way that ritual was phased out. But flowers for Mother's Day have never phased out. I read that Mother's day actually surpasses Valentine's Day in flower deliveries, and that's a HUGE flower holiday.

I got flowers from my older son this year. Irises. Beautiful purple irises. The card read To My Mommy I loved that. Mommy. I only know one other adult who still calls her mother Mommy. And I do love flowers, too. Some folks think they are a waste of money because the shelf-life is so short. Nah. Jesus didn't think it was a waste of money when Mary cracked the jar of nard over his head. The perfume was exquisite and he loved her for it. It said "you're worth it." For me it's the same with flowers. In spite of everything, I'm worth it to my children.

I am blessed with two sons and they take turns surprising me. When I was younger (and way more cynical), I'd say "It's good to have two. You have a better chance of being remembered by at least one of them." This year it was flowers.

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