© 2012, Vicki Hinze
Today would have been my mother’s birthday.
Memories crowd my mind, no doubt made more poignant due to a good friend’s loss of his mother last week. It makes fresh the ravages of grief that had mercifully become more distant.
Losing a mother is devastating, and there’s just no getting around that. Whether she was a wonderful mother, an indifferent one, or an awful one, she was still the mother. You mourn the loss of a wonderful mother. Mourn that your mother was indifferent and question yourself as to why, perhaps blame yourself because her indifference made you feel unlovable. Mourn the awful mother because she wasn’t a wonderful mother and wonder if the reason was her challenge or yours. Regardless of the type of mother, you still mourn. What was, what wasn’t, what could have been.
I was so incredibly lucky. My mother wasn’t just wonderful she was extraordinary. And while she passed away fifteen years ago, she is with me still. In ideas and attitudes. In standards and perspectives. In all I think and do.
It seems odd to say, considering she’s with me all the time, but I miss her. I miss her daily presence in my life. I miss her quick wit and her compassion, her amazing insights. I miss her smile and that twinkle in her eye. I even miss that penchant of hers for being blunt and totally honest even when it hurt—times when she also hung tight to sooth and comfort.
We’ve all heard that the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world. I’m not sure who first said it, but I know from life that it’s true. So if you haven’t called your mom lately, pick up the phone. If you are a mom, remember that you are your child’s hero or heroine. Be the best you can be for yourself but also for her or him.
Even if your child is going through one of those stages where s/he thinks Mom is stupid, too mean, too out of touch, too … well, choose your adjective, know that there will come a time when that child pauses, looks back, and realizes all Mom did, taught, and sacrificed to do what she did. How much effort it took for her to prepare her child as best she was able for the future. And one day that child will realize that when she said, “It hurts me more than it hurts you,” she was being totally honest.
What breaks my heart is that some kids realize this at about age twenty. Some at twenty-five. But there are some that realize Mom wasn’t so stupid after all only after Mom’s gone. I pity those kids. Because then it’s too late to gain the added wisdom that comes when a kid tells Mom s/he had been wrong, and that s/he now realizes all that being a mother encompassed.
But that’s a post for a different day. Today would have been my mother’s birthday and she did know she was beloved and admired and respected and appreciated. She knew before it was too late, and that she did fills me with such gratitude I could weep.
I could write for hours all I learned at my mother’s hand. I could sing her praises indefinitely. But I can summarize all that really needs say succinctly: She loved unconditionally.
When I hear mothers minimized or what they do marginalized, I find it absurd and shortsighted. I can’t say it makes me angry so much as it makes me pity the clueless. But I am comforted in know that there’ll come a time when they figure it out—the truth, I mean. And that is:
There is no more important position than motherhood.
And there is but one position as important: fatherhood.
A lesson learned from my mom.
Happy Birthday, Mom. You forever remain in my mind and heart.