Mother's Day, 2022 edition.
While I want to celebrate all moms for making it through another year, I would be remiss not to acknowledge that Mother's Day may not be a celebratory time for all - for those who have lost their mothers, for mothers who have lost their children to illness, war, or violence, and for mothers who are trying to shield their children from a world gone mad, this day may represent loss, or if not a reminder of what isn't, merely another day to survive what is. I confess, there are times when I intentionally disregard the news, because of the overwhelming senselessness of much of what's happening in the world, and what seems to be a loss of common sense. For this reason, I hang on to little comforts: my kids, our shared irreverent sense of humour, and the words of those far wiser than me. Below, a token to my mom friends, our own mothers, and mothers everywhere doing their best.
The orchid that just keeps on going... This orchid graced my Mother's Day post two years ago, and in that time, it has twice dropped its blooms, and magically blossomed. Here, a promise of yet more beauty in my life.
When your kids know you well
I can't say I'm much of an art collector. While I can identify and appreciate the works of some well-known artists, partly because of popular culture, but also partly due to visits to Europe as a teen (some of my favourite museums? L'Orangerie and Musée d'Orsay. Oooh, and walking around the grounds of the Musée Rodin...), and the good fortune of a trip to China with my family and a trip to Tokyo with my dojo a few years ago that included a visit to the Tokyo National Museum, the stuff that adorns my walls is more local. Local to the artistes who live with me. Behold, a small piece of a first-grade Mother's Day work of art from my youngest:
This word cloud pretty much sums me up, especially my dietary preferences. Coke Zero was lovingly referred to as "mom's juice" back when I could get anything by my kids (not so much anymore), and yes, my kids have inherited my love of potato chips and A&W (especially when there are coupons to be used). Thank goodness I smell nice, and hallelujah, I'm cool and awesome (at least, I was to my first-grader... To my now-sixth-grader, I'm less cool, which is evident in the eye-rolls directed at me on a daily basis. I've told my kid to be careful, otherwise he might dislocate his eyeballs...), and perhaps best of all, my kid thought I was kind, smart, and helpful. I cannot complain about those descriptors. To see this every day, held up by my kid's outstretched arms, framed and perched in my bedroom? I'm a lucky mom indeed.
I know I'm a good mom. Just look at the ones on TV!
OK, I do not consider television fare as any sort of benchmark for comparison, but I'd like to think that there's always some kernel of truth within humour, therefore I will choose to believe that somewhere, there is a mom like Moira Rose of Schitt's Creek who is unapologetic in her rather imperious, often inappropriate, and always over-the-top mothering of her "bébé" spawn, David and Alexis. There are times when she does speak truth...
For example, from "The Affair," which aired March 7, 2017:
David: Okay, Alexis and I need the car, we're running some errands for the store today.
Alexis: Um, since when?
David: Uh, since I need help for a pick-up. And mom clearly already has a lift, and I'm pretty sure parents are supposed to put their children before themselves.
Moira: Oh, really? No. If airplane safety videos have taught me anything, David, it's that a mother puts her own mask on first.
And other times when she speaks plain nutty:
David: "Didn't you once take the wrong baby home from preschool?"
Moira: "Alexis looked Chinese as an infant! How many times must I defend myself??"
What I know for sure
I remember parts of my life before I had my kids, but since becoming a mother, while I may not remember everything (😬...), I definitely do not recall a time when everything about my life and my being wasn't infused with the singular sense of being my boys' mother. I'm a bit of a sap, so I'll leave it to a famous poet to explain this more eloquently than I can:
In all the world, there is no heart for me like yours.
In all the world, there is no love for you like mine.
My days are shaped around their days. This is not to say that I do not carve in some me-time, as I know that failing to tend to my needs would impact my ability to look after the kids' needs, but for them, I would do almost anything and everything to be present and to ensure they know that they are the centre of my universe (most times). I do that only for them.
What can I say that generations upon generations of mothers don't already know? Long before we feel those tiny flutters within, the bonds that connect us with our children take hold and only grow stronger with each gaze passed, laugh shared, argument resolved, hug held, and tear shed. I look at my kids and marvel at the people they've become, magnificent and imperfect, and am resolute in my commitment to their happiness and well-being. Yes, my life would be much simpler without children (have you ever seen a job posting for unpaid personal assistant with skills in housekeeping, cooking, tutoring, counselling, event-planning, first aid provision, Nascar driving, conflict diffusing, bookkeeping, costume-making, etc., all delivered with a smile and pleasant countenance??), but I can't imagine my life without the complexity, colour, and growth imparted by their love and presence. I can complain 'til the cows come home about the challenges of raising children, but I wouldn't have it any other way.
I don't usually listen to Ciara, but the lyrics of this song resonate with me in ways that I could not have foreseen even a year ago:
I'll be there to stop the bleeding
I'll be there to start the healing
I will give you what you're needing
I'll be right there
To those of you celebrating Mother's Day this year, I hope you enjoy being fêted by your loved ones. To those of you for whom Mother's Day might be an especially tough day, I wish you a day of self-care and support by your friends and loved ones. And to my own mom, with each passing year as a mother, I understand more of the sacrifices you made for me and our family. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, and Happy Mother's Day.
Until next time,