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!