As I prepared to write this blog post, my intent was to share ideas on special ways to celebrate the upcoming Mother’s Day. I was going to give ideas on how to craft a gorgeous champagne bar if you were celebrating at home. So to begin the post, I went digging in my photo albums (these celebrations took place before smart phones, people) to look for photos of my own past Mother’s Day celebrations when my children were young. Upon searching, I found the above photo in a frame that it was put in 19 years ago, after it was taken. It is of our fourth child Aidan, giving a kiss that landed on the nose of his great grandmother, Nan, who was eighty years young on that day and is about to celebrate her 99th Birthday this coming July! As I gazed at its surface, I could barely see through the foggy and cloudy glass that covered the photo.Taking the photo out from behind the glass, I dropped the glass and it shattered on the kitchen floor. Sweeping up the broken pieces, I thought to myself how thankful I was that I had put this photo behind that now broken glass for the glass had protected it from the dust that had gathered on its surface and the photo was in perfect shape. If only the glass could have protected my grandmother from her pain of losing first her mother, whose husband had left them when she was a young girl, which was very unheard of in her 1920’s upbringing, and then also her husband, my great grandfather Pops, who she happily shared a marriage with for sixty long years, and then in the past twenty years, both of her daughters, my dad’s only siblings. She has enjoyed a very very long relatively healthy life but to outlive her children and her husband has been a heartache that she has born that stems from the love a mother has for her children and their father. That thought made me recall the poem that I had been planning on using in this post.
“When God Created Mothers”
When the Good Lord was creating mothers, He was into His sixth day of overtime when the angel appeared and said, “You’re doing a lot of fiddling around on this one.”
And God said, “Have you read the specs on this order? She has to be completely washable, but not plastic. Have 180 moveable parts…all replaceable. Run on black coffee and leftovers. Have a lap that disappears when she stands up. A kiss that can cure anything from a broken leg to a disappointed love affair. And six pairs of hands.”
The angel shook her head slowly and said. “Six pairs of hands…. no way.”
“It’s not the hands that are causing me problems”, God remarked, “it’s the three pairs of eyes that mothers have to have.”
“That’s on the standard model?” asked the angel. God nodded.
“One pair that sees through closed doors when she asks, ‘What are you kids doing in there?’ When she already knows. Another here in the back of her head that sees what she shouldn’t but what she has to know, and of course the ones here in front that can look at a child when he goofs up and say, ‘I understand and I love you’ without so much as uttering a word.”
“God”, said the angel touching his sleeve gently, “Get some rest tomorrow….”
“I can’t”, said God, “I’m so close to creating something so close to myself. Already I have one who heals herself when she is sick…can feed a family of six on one pound of hamburger…and can get a nine year old to stand under a shower.”
The angel circled the model of a mother very slowly. “It’s too soft,” she sighed.
“But tough!” said God excitedly. “You can imagine what this mother can do or endure.”
“Can it think?”
“Not only can it think, but it can reason and compromise,” said the Creator.
Finally, the angel bent over and ran her finger across the cheek.
“There’s a leak,” she pronounced. “I told You that You were trying to put too much into this model.”
“It’s not a leak,” said the Lord, “It’s a tear.”
“What’s it for?”
“It’s for joy, sadness, disappointment, pain, loneliness, and pride.”
“You are a genius”, said the angel.
Somberly, God said, “I didn’t put it there.”
― Erma Bombeck
This excerpt is my absolute favorite, hands down, in expressing what it means to be a mother. I am sure that many of you have read it before and know it well. Erma Bombeck nailed it, as she did with so many other pieces of her writing, and as I read it, yet again for its “upti-umpf” time, it brings that same leak to my cheek that it always does.
Between the two images that were going to fuel my blog post about mothers and celebrating them, the photo of my great grandmother, and this poem, I couldn’t possibly write about a Mimosa bar. But I could write about the fact that even through the cloudy glass that had covered that photo, that image brought me back to that day as if it was last year’s mother’s day, not one that had occurred almost twenty years ago. The sun was brilliant that day. We had gone to brunch at a local restaurant that had been housed in an old farmhouse called the Lions Share. It has since closed and a pool or hot tub store was added onto it and the character has been remodeled out of it, but that is another story. Four of my five siblings had attended with my Mom and Dad and my Grandfather and Grandmother, the above pictured woman. We had four of our five children at that time and since the day was so beautiful and the children having been all under the age of eight, they were fairly ready to play after the brunch. The restaurant, having a front yard full of grass, became their playground as we exited and there they played as we adults watched them and finished our conversations. Nan had sat on the ground with them to play, as she was known to do and Aidan planted that kiss on we think, what was intended to hit her lips but landed on her nose. Even better was that I happened to capture that image on my camera… not my iPhone for they did not exist at that time! While I curse i-phones on a regular basis, I do wish that I had one when my children were young only so that I could have captured many more images of the everyday like this one.
The point in recalling that day for you that are reading this, is that I have no idea what I ate that day at the brunch, nor do I even remember the decor of the table, nor the room we were seated in, although I do remember it was cozy. It could be that I did not sit for long since I think I had a spring where my behind used to be that launched me into action as the young ones called and caused me to sit very little in those days… Erma… you forgot to write about that part of God’s creation! What I do remember was sitting in that grass with THOSE people, enjoying each other’s company and the sunshine…and that kiss. It truly is the moments, not the things that we remember that cause those shining memories to still glitter and not dull like that dusty glass.
So this Mother’s Day, if you have three pairs of eyes, six pairs of hands, a disappearing lap and the rest of the accoutrements that the angel described, while I hope you imbibe in a lovely champagne brunch, or breakfast at a diner or in your bed, or in cooking one yourself (if that is your thing) or in whatever manner of being treated to a day celebrating mothers, I hope that you are able to create those moments with THOSE people that you have created or partake in creating memories with those that have created you. Those beautiful memories are the pieces that will support us when THOSE people are not on this Earth with us any longer. By all means, create that Mimosa bar, that glorious arrangement, that beautiful wrapped gift, that handmade card to celebrate mothers and women as well, for it is the icing on the cake. It is in making those things that can assist in creating beautiful memories.
Moms out there, I hope you can take this upcoming day to stop those leaks, if only for a day, and celebrate the moments, the beauty and the blessings in motherhood and let the worry, the fear and the uncertainty that comes with this job go. The most difficult yet the most fulfilling job on Earth!
A lovely toast to all of you this Mother’s Day