It’s that time of year again when we celebrate mothers. It’s one of those holidays that make my heart sing for many reasons.
First, I love that I have had the pleasure in life to be a mother – my children, and the spouses they have chosen are a true blessing. I am proud of them all! They have brought out the best in me. They have challenged my spirit to grow in ways I never imagined anyone could. They have enhanced and expanded my life and I am grateful!
Second, When I look at my mother, aunts, sisters and grandmothers I feel deep appreciation because I know the sacrifices they have made for me and my family. Every woman in my family has made a deep and lasting impression on me and my life, both as a woman, and a mother. The ties of love run deep!
And lastly, this holiday is always marked with my favorite flowers as well … lilacs. The look and smell of them take me back to so many family-oriented moments. They make my heart happy and fill my mind with sentiments and hopes.
As we move through this weekend I will share again the poem I wrote on a previous Mother’s Day that says it best of all …. I Am a Mother.
Enjoy the memories you love most of your mother and if you are blessed to have children (whether your own or any other) that look up to you and that you love … enjoy and celebrate your day!
Have you ever noticed that the rhythm of life seems to bring highs and lows at the very same time? I have often wondered if it’s God’s way of balancing our hearts so they do not break under the pressure of sad events. It is the rainbow that is in the midst of the rain and lightening. It is hard to notice one without noticing the power of the other. And I suppose the why of it all and the timing sequence is one of those questions that will remain unanswered in this lifetime.
Right now, I feel that life is in transition in so many places. My son is marrying the love of his life in less than a month. My daughter will soon follow next year. The joy I feel for them both is still tripped up by the mourning of that time I had with them as children. Oh sure, they are still my children but soon they will be someone else’s spouse. The center of their world has already shifted but mine is lingering behind. My day to day life has changed and that is not painful. But those still quiet moments when I think of what has ended forever, my heart breaks in the memory of it all. So life at home is changing and shifting every day.
On the other end of the spectrum, while my children move into beginnings, I see endings for others I love. One of those is my Grandma. I still am blessed to have both of my grandmothers – one 94 and the other soon to be 90. The older one is recovering from 2 strokes and it seems at times that she is slowly slipping away. Her mind is still fairly good but her body is weakening. When I sit with her she sometimes is quite focused on what’s happening here and then I notice her drifting forward, looking, seeking, longing for what’s next. Even asking for it at times. I know this is the cycle of life, but the timing is right in the midst of joyful transitions. It seems that the timing is “off” – I am jumbled in the joy and the sadness.
On the career front I have been dreaming and working toward a new possibility as I see the long-term career cresting toward the final years. This is a bittersweet transition as I have great longing for both possibilities. But as one bloom on the tree of life wanes, another begins to appear. It is the balance of yin and yang. Dark and light. Morning and evening. The world seems to be spinning out of control and standing still at the same time.
Perhaps transitions is one word to explain it and dichotomies is another. It appears that life has 2 opposites existing at the same time for me. For many people this is true I imagine. And I find myself not knowing whether to celebrate or to mourn. To plan or to wrap-up. Today I stand in the middle and my mood is fickle.
What transitions and dichotomies are you grappling with? Any tips and tricks for standing in the middle?
Unfortunately in life, it becomes so easy to forget the simple little miracles and memories that are part of being around a baby. It’s been so many years since my kids were little. They are grown and making their own lives in the world. I am ever so proud of who they are becoming and the people they are choosing to bring into their journey with them.
And even though I enjoy who they are today, I do sometimes try to recall the details of their infancy. In so many ways it seems like just a short time ago, and yet the mind only remembers their lives in flashes and snapshots. I wish I could watch the movies I took when they were small but unfortunately those tapes were accidentally taped over years ago. That was a stunning loss and I never got back into the habit of filming them. Now, I wish I had. And so I look at pictures and try to recall the details – how they sounded, the smell of their sweet little heads, their smiles, and the good and silly things they did along the way. Those two children have been the delight of my existence and my greatest gift to the world. (And I know yours have been that for you as well.)
Today I was finally well enough to get a chance to spend some quality time with my newest little niece, Abby. Oh she’s an adorable little angel! It was a pleasure to feel the weight of her tiny body in the crook of my arm as she fell asleep. I giggled at her ever-changing expression while she was in dreamland. To hear that tiny little voice give a cry to shake off the hiccups and coo a bit here and there was a treat for my heart.
There is nothing better than the emerging expression of a new little human being awakening to the world around them. They are full of wonder and unbridled potential. Just being in the presence of this sweet little angel brought a sense of awe to my heart. I am blessed.
Well, it’s official. As of around 2:00 this morning, I no longer have any children in my household. My youngest, Maria turns 21 today. I have such mixed feelings about this. As I tell her, you may not be “a baby” but you’ll always be “my baby”. This never sits well with her but it makes me giggle none the less.
I’m sure she’ll demand I remove this post as soon as she sees these pictures, but, alas it is in the parent’s handbook that we get to embarrass brag on our children as we see fit. I intend to do so. Grab a cup of coffee Girlie-goo and chillax about it!
Here’s to you Maria – you’ll always be my little princess. I love you and could not be more proud. Happy Birthday!
“If I only have hands to help and a heart to love, then I am truly blessed.” ~ Barbara Bernard Miller
Today as I was getting ready for work I flipped on the TV as I usually do. Bored with the never ending repeat of weather and traffic I flipped a few channels and found a simple show with a woman quietly talking to the audience and her calmness actually drew me in. I still have no idea of what her name is or what the program was because I could only watch a few minutes during my morning routine. But her message mesmerized me. There was nothing flashy or entertaining to catch my attention but the profound message of love captivated me. This woman, whoever she was, was recounting her work with Mother Teresa in Calcutta, India.
She spoke of the humor and pure love that she witnessed and enjoyed in her work with Mother Teresa. She recounted the work she did as a volunteer at the children’s orphanage and the home for the dying. She repeatedly shared how beautiful the experience was – in spite of the hard work, ravished conditions, and utter despair in the eyes of some of the people. The greatest thing they starved for was for the love of human touch. A hug for child and holding the hand of those taking their last breaths.
In the brief 10 minutes I was able to listen I was enchanted by her stories. This woman not only got to stand beside and assist Saint Teresa of Calcutta, she got to experience the pure joy of loving the people in her own right. As she recounted what she received from the bony hugs she received back from the children or the last smile from the dying as she held their hand I was acutely aware at how blessed we all are to be able to touch another human being with simple acts of love. We don’t often notice it in our land of plenty where gift giving is taken to the fine art of greed.
But she touched me deeply with her words. She renewed in my heart the desire to live my purpose in life. She helped me, without ever knowing that I heard her speak, to re-examine what my gifts are and how I can help with my hands to bring a smile to the face of both loved one and stranger with a gentle touch, a warm smile, and a hug.
It’s a difficult thing to do – this letting go business. I’m “almost” an empty nester but most days I feel like I’m there already. My oldest, Tony is 23. While he lives at home he spends his time with his special girl, his job, his friends and those games that entice almost every member of his generation. And my “baby,” Maria is on the threshold of 21. When she’s not on campus or working at the bridal store, she’s out gallivanting around the big apple during her NYC co-op. She’s turning into the woman and designer she’s always wanted to be.
But WAIT one cotton-pickin’ minute! Who the heck gave them permission to be that old? Not me! It feels like I just had them last year. I remember the years but they slipped by so fast that it seems surreal. Did I take enough pictures? Probably not. Did we dance and sing and play enough – we sure did try. Did I fill their stockings and hearts equally well? I think so. Did I teach what they needed? I pray so.
And today I stand with my feet stretched across the chasm of change. One foot slipping on the memories of their childhood and the other firmly planted on the edge of their leaving. I’m not really enjoying the splits move in which I find myself. Ok, most days I’m just busy and don’t take note of how fast that empty nest label is rushing at me. Denial is an art you know! But days like today, I feel every second. I want to rush back and watch one more soccer game, drive one more carload of kids, and welcome one more batch of cold and revved up teens when the football game is done. I want see one more improv fashion show and have one more craft day. Please – just one more.
But we go on, sliding forward into the change that in inevitable. I hope my kids remember some of the sweet things that I do about their time under my wing. And when trouble comes and they knock on my door, I’ll give them a hug and in my heart will once again sing “You are my sunshine” and rub their hair. They’ll need me once again – just in a different way, and the nest won’t feel so empty that day.