I was so busy and focused on other things this year that Mother’s Day slipped by me. So I am celebrating this weekend. I have been enjoying all kinds of wildflowers this week, missing the holiday flowers that usually fill the world.
“Ma, mom, momma, mother, ma, mama, madre, memere, mumsy....” My son and his friends in their teens used to think it was delightfully funny to sing-song chant this to gain my attention or the attention of their respective mothers from the benches at baseball fields or the parking lot as they approached for a ride. Or when they were strolling through the house to get a towel or a video game or a glove or pair of cleats or a snack or a sweatshirt or a wallet or a computer or a notebook or a fishing pole. My daughter had a song of her own and was not shy about using it in the privacy of the house or the gymnasium at a school to get my attention. A wail of “Maaaaaaaaaaaa!” would be uttered to the giggle of friends and sometimes the chagrin of this momma. I will treasure its utterance at the birthdays, pajama parties, lost item searches, coloring book delights, secret note discoveries, school projects that took over two or three rooms of the house, pool parties, home visits from college with a band of friends, family parties and all the life stages of my little girl, tween-girl, teenage girl, college kid and soon-to-be-married adult woman.
It is funny how this first or second word of us humans sticks. My days of the chant and the wail are long gone as my own children — now adults — are living in the world of adult things in their own private worlds of careers, spouses, parenthood, student loans, car payments, mortgages and the joys and sorrows of their own nuclear families. But I think of them every time I see a mom in a grocery store or schoolkids spilling out of a building or even a chicken with chicks or a cow with a calf or a sheep with a lamb — it is a mom thing.
Remembering my kid’s childhood is a source of wonderful joy. We quite often recall together the funny moments, the poignant moments, the tragic moments, the never-to-be-forgotten moments, and foremost and of most importance the love and laughter. I reminisce on my own about the cuddles and the firsts and the wonder of watching them become thriving and wonderful adults. As Mother’s Day approaches — for me at least — I remember the gifts they made for me as school kids. Magnets with their photos, cards with hand-painted or colored flowers, scrawls with “I Love You” and their first signatures on cards presented with sticky or muddy or sweaty kid hands at the end of a school day, or a bouquet of dandelions or bluets or other beautiful weed flower. I am twice blessed.
Motherhood is tough. No one is ever ready for it. That screeching, squalling little bundle of energy and life with a personality all their own the minute that voice hits the airwaves sends whatever sense of order and togetherness and knowledge you thought you had right out the window. Decisions now are made in seconds. Sleep is a fond memory. Responsibilities at work take a back seat. The demands of another being completely out-shadow your own needs and desires and schedules. Somehow, like the Grinch, our hearts burst their bounds and this little being is all that matters. I can’t imagine becoming a mom during this pandemic. The load of worries is even more mountainous than during “normal” times.
My own mother has watched us “kids” grow and learn and struggle and thrive and struggle again and stumble and succeed and fail and continue on this same life journey and path that she and my father shared. It ain’t easy. But it is very rewarding, and I understand when she still calls us over-the-hill adults “kids.” We will always be her kids. And she will always be our mom. My mother, my children and I are the lucky ones. The sharing, love, concern, guidance, life-skills, successes and strengths all come from that family bond that began with the sacrifice of mom and dad. I think that is the almost-religious quality of parenthood — the sacrifice. It is not just love, it is the mysterious love of a mother that features a willingness to give up everything for that little — or big — bundle of joy created by the love you shared with another that we need to celebrate.
I want to thank my mom today. For the quiet lessons, the gift of freedom to make my own decisions and spread my wings and fly away. For the love she and my dad shared that created me. For the life and survival and thriving skills they imparted. For her love of food and cooking and the gift of singing she gave each of us three siblings. For the love of God that she handed to each of us to take and nurture and share ourselves. For the tenacity to stick to a plan and take it through to a successful end. For the appreciation of fun and laughter and the ability to laugh at myself. For the love of the written word that has become a part of my own very being. For poetry, love of beauty and love of the arts. For the love of the ocean and the power and spirit and living nature of water. The love of seeing the beauty in the world from the tiniest flower to the stars in the sky. For the lessons in patience and appreciation of the small things in life. For the respect and interest in the comfort and well-being of others. For teaching me to believe in myself. For the love of family. But mostly, for the lessons in universal love and sharing that love. Thank you, mom, for being my mom.
Think of your mom or sister or aunt or grandmother that raised you. Appreciate her. Remember and honor her. Blood or adoptive, mom is mom. Visit her if she is here and remember her if she is gone. Love her forever. If it weren’t for her, none of us would be able to tell our stories. Forget the flowers or the gift or the card in this difficult year. Give her a call or visit her. She is the only one you have and she is here for only a moment in the grand scheme of life.
And if you are a mom, think of all those mom moments that make your motherhood special.
“Ma, mom, momma, mother, mum, mama, madre, memere, mumsy.”
My favorite songs.
Becky Nelson is co-owner of Beaver Pond Farm in Newport, New Hampshire. You can contact her through the farm page on Facebook and Instagram, visit the retail store or email her at email@example.com.