To all the mothers, aunts, grandmothers, sisters, friends-Happy Mother’s Day! And on the flip-side, to all the fathers, grandfathers, uncles, brothers and buds who take on the role of Mother today-a very Happy Mother’s Day to you too! We are honoured, privileged and blessed to have you in our lives. Thank you!
This year, Mother’s Day was especially beautiful for me because I was able to experience Motherhood in all it’s forms. Through a variety of women in my family, I saw how Motherhood was conveyed, relayed, shared and shone between us, and it humbled this little heart to the core.
It started with brunch with my Mother, Grandmother and sister. Four women, 3 generations and a hot mess of love and emotion in a tiny car. On the way to brunch, my Mother was, well, being my mother! We have a loving yet exasperating sort of relationship where, despite being well into my 30s, I am still the child and she is still the adult. I am Ernie, She is Bert.
Mum: “Change lanes, that guy’s too close to you”
“Don’t put your purse there, it’ll get dirty”
Me: $(@)@(*&!!!!^^&%I$((#&@@&%&&&@$&!!!!!!!!!!…AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!! (in my head! only in my head…)
Yet, at the breakfast table, things took a little turn and it was my mother in the hot seat and my grandmother steering the conversation, much to the chagrin of my mother.
Grandma: “Pour the tea carefully otherwise you will spill”
“Why aren’t you eating? You look pale, take this.”
Mum: (disgruntled silence)
As the scene continued to play out, my sister and I exchanged amused glances-the apple clearly didn’t fall too far from the tree. It was cute, and it got me thinking…A mother’s role in life is so strong, so powerful, that even with all the good and bad we witness, we still want to emulate them. Our idols of life, love, womanhood ahd humanity-we want to be just like them. In every single way. On the ride home, this simple thought humbled my ego and filled me with affection for my mother. She and I were so alike, we were both caught between the individual and the idol dream, and still trying to navigate to that in between.
This time, when she complained that I was speeding (doing 65km in a 60km zone) I didn’t get mad. I just smiled and slowed down 🙂
Later in the day, we went to my Aunt’s house for afternoon tea. Now, we have not always had a cordial relationship with her and her family, but she was recently diagnosed with End Stage Kidney Failure, and we all decided it was time to bury the hatchet and be supportive. Sitting at her bedside, I saw first hand how Sisters are a very special sort of relationship, the in-between of a mother and a friend. My mother is two years older than her younger sister, yet she fell into the role of mother with such ease-fluffing her pillows, arranging her flowers, pouring her tea, sitting down for a good gossip. What a bond! I never thought about how unique the sister relationship really is, mother your own age! A mother who gets you! A mother who sees you as an equal! It’s pretty cool….
A few hours later my aunt’s children, my cousins, came by with their kids in tow. As I watched my cousin nurse her 9 month old daughter at the kitchen table, I was again bowled over by the beauty of motherhood-it’s so natural, so intrinsic, like a second skin. The look on her face as she nursed her daughter was just ethereal, and in that one moment of nourishment, you could tell that the entire world had just stopped to care for this little girl. It was a powerful moment for me.
As we left the house I picked up my dog and as I looked into his little black eyes, I couldn’t help but feel that tug at my heart for this little boy in my arms. Was this Motherhood as well? Yes, I think it is. While I am not a mother to a human child, to me, my dog IS my child. I love him so fiercely, so deeply and so completely, I cannot remember my life before him. When he sleeps, I am at peace. When he’s sick, my heart hurts. When he is happy and excited, it’s like a light has turned on inside of me. I just adore him.
And so, I feel I can safely say that yes, I too, belong to this beautiful society of Motherhood. It is a Love that I cannot contain-for my mother, father, sister, grandmother, aunt, friend, niece, dog. It is unconditional and it keeps expanding, spilling out into all of my other relationships, growing, transforming and evolving over time. But interestingly, never diminishing. Never, ever diminishing.
In one day I learned and felt so much about Motherhood, I was overwhelmed. It was on display for me in all of its intimacy, power and glory, it was blinding. And each woman, each encounter, each experience taught me yet another lesson about the powerful Love of a Mother.
As I sat down to write this post, pondering over the events and emotions of the day, the most perfect book came to mind and I knew I had to share Maya Angelou’s Letter To My Daughter.
Now most people would think, why not Maya Angelou’s other book “Mom & Me & Mom”-after all it is Mother’s Day right?
True. However, Letter to My Daughter was a more fitting selection for me because it is a book that reflects the very core of Motherhood- to teach with Love. This was the ray of light I experienced today, witnessing all these beautiful conveyances of a Mother through all of these women. Maya Angelou’s collection of essays reveals Life Lessons she has learned from Herself, her own Mother, Grandmother, her friends, family, strangers, her obstacles, triumphs, failures and dreams. And, as a Mother, Angelou passes on these lessons to us as well. Her audience. Her extended family. Her children.
With her characteristic grace, intelligence, humour and flair she conveys some wonderful advice about life with the humility and beauty only Angelou knows how to put into words. It is a book that not only needs to be read, it needs to be absorbed. All of it. Into your very bones, Your Mind. Your Heart. Your Soul. And then you pass it on with Love, just as a Mother would.
I cannot recommend this treasure enough. Go out and grab a copy today. You won’t regret it!
Happy MOther’s Day!