Clearly, Mother’s Day is meant to be more than a day. Especially now, in the stupendously elongated days and hours we are living in.
The mothers in this world need at least a month of acknowledgement, gifts, and someone else cleaning, cooking and also REST.
Since moms don’t get much rest during quarantine times, my friend Amy and mom of 2, suggested we give all moms a month off later on- maybe in the fall. And let’s throw in some extra time for solitude and tantrums too.
When my mom, who I called “Marvelous Marjorie,” died in 2003, a movie began playing non stop in my mind- this movie was of all the incredibly kind and thoughtfull things my mom had done for me– all the tiny, medium and large things that make up a child’s life.
Every sweater she remembered to bring, every sandwich cut diagonally with just the right ratio of peanut butter and jelly, and buying me the biggest box of crayons in the neighborhood. This incredible mind movie played in detail for weeks.
And I felt loved by my mom, which I know now as an absolute blessing.
I had already processed and forgiven most of the unkind things, all the knowing and unknowing ways that hurt traveled between us.
We were both “difficult” in our own ways, and there were primitive betrayals and times of silence and rage.
No matter what had happened though, she still made a certain “mom sound” whenever she first saw me- a kind of accepting tone that held no words, and yet held all the love.
I can still hear it.
I wrote a tribute poster for her called Just For Mom. She read it out loud with pride to her bridge club, which was how I really knew she liked it. She didn’t like that it said “Forgive all the old junk,” and asked me sharply what I meant by that.
I replied, “You know, the grudges we both hold towards each other.”
She retorted loudly, “What grudges?! I don’t know what you’re talking about!”
I just looked long at her, and she started laughing, and admitted that she probably did have some grudges. We both did.
I’m glad to say that we cleared them all up before she left her body. And I know it doesn’t always work out that way.
I want to honor anyone that has, or had a challenging kind of mother- I know that it isn’t necessarily popular to talk about moms in their entirety. Mother’s Day seems to be mostly for the idealized version of mothers- the one where they have to hide all their feelings and endlessly support everyone with everything.
Thankfully that is changing in our culture, and I am seeing a lot more willingness for moms and children to be vulnerable and authentic in their expressions. And awareness of the importance of mental health care is expanding also.
Because moms contain it ALL, and to me- that makes it richer, deeper, and more REAL.
And what could be more real than this long-ago photo of me and my mom?
What was I thinking with the bow??
Never mind about the perm and the thumbs up. The sight of her big blue hand in that glove pierces my heart with the memories of all the good things those hands did.
I fiercely love these 2 women in the photograph, this mom and daughter, loving each other through all the times and places, and whose legacy remains in me, as I am a kind of mother to my godchildren and readers of my books, and now also as a nurturing and loving presence for the adult children of my partner David.
Happy mom MONTH, and abiding appreciation to all the moms still here and the ones who have departed, ones who were abused themselves and as a result, couldn’t really mother, and of course to everyone mothering with love in any kind of way.