Not everyone is a mother but everyone has a mother. My mother died in 2008. Yet she is still with me and always will be. Mothers are forever. She is inside my head and my heart. She is in the eyes that look back at me from my bathroom mirror each morning. She is in the hundred cliches I mouth about life’s tributes and trials. She is in my sense of fairness, of responsibility, of duty. She is in my love of gardening, painting and writing.
A mother’s influence and presence is forever _ even if you never really knew her or she is now gone.
Like most people my relationship with my mother had good times and not so good times. As a small child I loved dressing up in her long orange ruched gloves, veiled hats and rhinestone bracelets. My mother often played out story book roles with me. I was Little Red Riding Hood to her Grandmother and the Big Bad Wolf. She read me Walt Whitman poems. But, she also had difficulty letting me go as a teen and young woman. Advice was often forthcoming whether I wanted it or not. And her advice was often contrary to what I did or thought I should do. This strained our relationship. Still, she was the person I could count on to help me out in a pinch.
She taught me right from wrong, how to hold a tea cup in polite society (your pinky finger must be held out from the cup handle in a slight curve), make a bed with squared corners and the best apple dumplings ever. She taught me to say, “excuse me” and “please” and “thank you”, to have respect for my elders. She also taught me to stand up for myself and not give in or give up if principles were at stake.
My mother had a wry sense of humor, somewhat sarcastic. She saw life’s ironies. Me, too. When it came to her red hair and aging, she quipped, “Red heads never dye. They just fade away.”
She was kind and helpful to people, including strangers. I remember leaving Asbury Park late one week night after shopping. On the way to our car, we encountered a distraught teenager who just missed the last bus to take her home. With businesses closing their doors and turning off lights the streets were quickly becoming deserted. Even though it was miles out of our way, my mother offered the girl a ride home. When she hesitated, my mother took out her police badge, showed it to the teen and told her she would be safe. We took the girl home. As my mother walked the teen to the door of her house and spoke to her father, I could see the gratitude on the man’s face.
Mothers are caretakers. Mothers are influencers. Mothers are leaders. Mothers are shapers of society as they are shapers of their children’s beliefs, abilities and character. Mothers are strong, resilient, resourceful and constant. Mothers are the very fiber that knit our society together. Mothers never leave us. They are always with us in our actions, our words, the voice in our head, the face in our mirror. Mothers are forever.
Whether your mother is with you or not, tell her thank you with gratitude in your heart for all she has given you, including life itself.
Happy Mothers’ Day!
What a lovely tribute to your mother! After reading your descriptions, I almost feel that I might have known her myself. I especially liked the image of playing dress-up in her clothes and jewelry. I remember doing that myself. Your example of her kindness to the marooned teenager is very moving. Thanks for this post!
Thanks Kathy for your inspiring tribute to your mother. My mother passed away in 1975. She is with me in spirit, in love. She would say to me as a young child,
“I will always be your mother.”.
What a beautiful tribute to your mother. Mine is gone also, for 19 years now, but she is still almost tangibly with me every day.
Happy Mother’s Day to you….shaper of daughters!
Thank you for sharing the sweet stories about your Mom and for reminding us that it is a Mother’s love that keeps us all going!
Kathy, very lovely post. Sounds like you were gifted much from your mother. Celebrate tomorrow and thanks for sharing.
Beautifully written, Kathy! I just finished writing my post for my mother. Happy Mother’s Day!
This is great, Kathy! A real reminder of how much our mothers did for us, day in and day out. My Mom and I were a bit of a challenging fit; I think she found it much more relaxing to spend time with my sister or my brother. But we took our relationship seriously all our lives and never totally gave up on it. Good for us, I now realize! She was a wonderful woman and died way too soon at the age of 72. Happy Mother’s Day to her and all the other moms of the world today.
Very nice writing. Hope you are doing a book!
Thank you Kathy, a beautiful tribute to Mom.
I love this, Kathy. Your mom sounds like a wonderful woman. I read somewhere that we should teach our children to seek out mothers with kids when they are in trouble. Instead of looking for a police officer if you are lost (which might not be around), find a mommy with kids. She will help you. It’s what moms do! Yours is a perfect example! ~ Lynn
Like most women raising families in the 50s and 60s, my mother did not work “outside the home” (as we now need to say). Because of that, I did not have any women to model for me the reality of what retiring from a career would look or feel like. I believe we Baby Boomer women are really forging a new path for younger women who will follow us into retirement. You’re right Kathy, there are precious few honest accounts that accurately portray the reality of navigating retirement as a woman, wife, and mother.