Mothers’ celebrations date back to ancient Greek and Roman society. They honored the mother goddesses Rhea and Cybele. The tradition was continued by early Christians as “Mother’s Sunday” when the faithful returned to their “mother church” for a special service.
This morphed into a more secular holiday where children presented flowers to their mothers to show their appreciation. Today, Mother’s Day is a continuation of that recognition (except we’ve added a brunch to compete with Easter).
A few years ago I honored my mother on this blog on the occasion of her 90th birthday. In it I suggested that “every day should be Mother’s Day.”
However, it pointed out to me the fact that not everyone has a good relationship with their mother, and my tribute reminded them of the unfair circumstances imposed on them in their childhood. Of course, I recognized what they were saying, but that truth also underscored the importance of motherhood.
It is a mother who is the first relation of all being. A mother sculpts life from the material of her own body. And that’s an otherworldly bond.
My wife, Shannon, adored her mother, who passed away too young many years ago, but in fact, they had a challenging relationship. However, my wife’s gift is a gift from her mother.
Shannon offered her perspective on our mothers: “Alcoholism took away my mother and any chance to repair our relationship. But your mother, Gary, is indestructible.
I asked her what she meant and she replied, “In the few years I’ve known her, she, at 90, survived a fall on concrete that broke her neck, kicked COVID in the butt, and she’s still been smiling ever since. ear to ear.”
While I’m not a son who ever needed to be reminded of his mother’s special character, the notion of superhuman strength was new. I thought about what made her so strong.
She was strengthened by love for her children and grandchildren. She felt invigorated when she was taken to exercise class where she showed everyone how a nonagenarian can stretch that elastic band to build muscle!
She always looked forward to her dear friend, Victoria, who would take her for car rides on warm days with blue skies. And she loved waking up from a nap to find me sitting in her room.
She treasured the memory of my father and the joy they shared in raising a family; of having been a teacher; a flight attendant; member of the Green Valley Clogging Club and New Horizons Band.
My mother’s strength was the source of mine when she released these earthly ties last summer, but what I have pales in comparison. My heart still aches every day from her touch. The sky is not as blue as it used to be.
However, it is still Mother’s Day and each day through eternity is a reminder of the gift a mother brings.
This is not just a reflection of my own mother. May this be a tribute to all mothers.
Happy Mother’s Day!