Monday, October 25, 2010
Happy Birthday - A Mother's Journey
This year I forgot my mother's birthday. I figured I should throw that out there at the beginning so that any warm and fuzzy feelings you have toward me after reading this are tempered by truth.
To diminish my filial guilt at forgetting to celebrate the day of one who gave me life, I spent numerous hours thinking of and searching for a good pardon present. To no avail. Nothing seemed weighty enough to show my appreciation and her worth.
Then today I ran into a friend at Costco. She had given birth to a sweet baby girl just a few weeks prior. She recounted to me with an embarrassed honesty the (to her) shameful details of her daughter's birth. Not an easy inaugural event. A new life, a fierce love but also a broken body and a tortuously sleep deprived mother. I left with a renewed sense of the measure imparted by mothers to their children and an ever increasing gratitude to my own mother for a lifetime of love and care.
Mothering is a sacred and selfless gift. Physically beginning at birth and ending with death - the word mother is synonymous with endurance. My own mother's gift to me becomes more tangible as I in turn become a mother and begin to walk that long road. My appreciation for her offering becomes richer and deeper every year.
Sometimes's my mother will pull at this or that wrinkle and talk about "fixing" them. She sighs and rolls her eyes when I tell her she is beautiful. I've never been able to articulate why exactly she should believe me in an age that tells us "beauty" is to defy age not embrace it. This week I was flooded with realization. Every wrinkle, every scar, anything that sags, every age mark testifies of a deep love given over a lifetime to four naive children. Her body a monument to the magnificence of mothering. Each line a reminder of her story and those experiences that have shaped her. There is exquisite beauty in the strokes of age.
Her hardship, the stretching experience of motherhood imparting to her and to us a divine gift. The word mother echoes down the corridors of time remaking each of us who takes up that mantle in someone greater's image.
Thank you mom for running the gauntlet so freely, for the traditions you created, the wisdom you've imparted, the faith you've exemplified.
While words are indeed inadequate to fully celebrate you, I know you value them more than something I could send you. And so from my heart to to yours. I love you. Happy Birthday.
Wrinkles in time: