Mother! Among all of the titles that describe me in my bio for this new blog with the Peekskill Patch, “mother” is not one of them. Yet, I do have the unique honor to be referred to as such by my lovely daughter for the past 32 years. In my opinion (which is what all of these blogs will be), Motherhood is the hardest job I’ve ever done, but the most rewarding. From the first day of my child’s birth, when I used the little known but highly successful birthing Bradley Method – no drugs, no pain – I knew the truly hard part would be the rearing of my little one. I do admit it was the hardest work I had ever done – I guess that’s why they call it labor – but that topic of the myths of inevitable pain at birth are for another, future blog.
Today, I’d like to honor and celebrate all of the mother’s out there. You cook, you clean, you wipe mouths, you keep the family on schedule, etc., and, if you have an amazing husband, partner, or even a community of friends who help, you are blessed with assistance in a job that is non-stop from a calling of unconditional love. An extreme example of such unselfish devotion comes from a snippet from a childhood fairy tale I recall about a mother and son. This passage left a striking image in my mind, although at that time, I didn’t quite understand its full meaning. It goes something like this: A sorceress demanded that a young man under her spell cut out his mother’s heart and bring it to her. The young man set out to oblige and, with his mother’s heart in hand, he headed back to the sorceress’ lair. As he tread through the forest, he tripped, fell to the ground, and the heart fell out of his hands. As he reached to retrieve it, a voice came from the still beating organ, “Son, did you hurt yourself?”
When one becomes a mother, the bitter taste of mortality soon appears on the tongue. Now life is seen not just as one’s own forward journey but the journey of another that will most likely live on after ones’ own. With the birth (or adoption) of a child, a mother will find herself looking backwards as well, at the life that brought her life, of the mother she will grow to understand more and more as she takes on the role herself.
When the United States version of this holiday began in the early 1900’s, one tradition was to bring a Mother’s Day cake to one’s Mom. Another ritual was the wearing of a carnation on that day - a red one for a mother who was alive, a white one for a mother’s who was dead.
Whether you are a mother or not, you are here because your mother brought you into this world. So, show some respect! Whether or not your relationship with your Mom is (or was) wonderful, or is (or was) not so great, thank her anyway for your presence on this earth. And, be the best person you can be because of, or in spite of, your Mom.
As “The Peekskill Patch Poet” as well as new blogger on the block, I leave you with two of my poems on the subject of Mother’s Day. I look forward to sharing my thoughts and poems with you again soon. Whether you agree with my point of view or not, I hope my words make you think. Happy Mother’s Day!
for my daughter
Once protected by purple layers of ocean clay,
you are the pearl of my shell.
Nestled in the private darkness of mystery,
you emerge from raspberry blush
though spiral peach pink fluted edges
bringing me the roar and a peace of the sea.
for my mother
For the cake you felt guilty about eating,
I bring you whipped cream and apple pie.
For the cake you couldn’t eat, thin as a sparrow,
I bring you icing instead of ice for your mouth.
For the peaches and cream birthday cake you made
for me and then the strawberry ones for my daughter,
I place an extra candle on the store-bought version,
for your baking skills and imagination.
For the origin of this day, when a mother=s cake was
given, I place a cake on your grave, one slice missing.