This Mother’s Day our house is quiet. The days when four rambunctious kids would giggle in the kitchen as they cooked up surprises while I luxuriated in bed are gone by. Happy little bodies piling on top of the mattress to watch the battery-operated helicopter their father had tied to the ceiling light above our bed … two boys and two girls gazing upward while their father and I smiled to ourselves as we made room for them between us.
I’m old enough now to realize that my own mother cherishes similar memories of me and my siblings during those precious years when we took our turn as children and she served as the leader of our pack. I’m old enough to fully appreciate that the mothers who were MY grandmothers during those few short years had already relinquished their roles as Mommy by the time I came along, and they too had to accept that reality no matter how bittersweet.
It is comforting to ponder that every generation of mothers shares the knowledge that each stage of motherhood is a two-sided sided mirror: every time a child reaches a milestone, our own role as mother is changing. They leave our bodies to be born into the world, and we miss them. They leave to go to school, to go to college, and to establish homes of their own and we miss them. We wouldn’t have it any other way, but we miss them. We miss each one of them at each stage of their growth.
As children we are not as aware that our mothers too are changing. Scott Simon’s word’s on CBS Sunday Morning today:
“Mothers have special vision. They see their children as all ages at once. When they behold their sassy teenagers, mothers still see the teething baby or stumbling toddler they used to be.
But our mothers are grown by the time we meet them. So we can think they were born just to feed, burp, bathe, and hold us through our nightmares.
We miss out on knowing our mothers and fathers when they were young, sassy, flirty, flummoxed, anxious, and maybe — hard as it is to imagine — even sort of cool.”
But I have always thought that my mother was cool, even if I didn’t know her as a younger woman. At some point in our growing up years, she let us help her shop for clothes. We picked out a purple pants suit for her when pants suits and the color purple were the hottest, latest thing. She looked smashing in it too, and very cool.
Now in her 90’s, my mom is still thriving in her home in Vermont, with the companionship of our oldest daughter. These days when my mom isn’t on the computer googling to find her friends from school days, she is often most comfortable in her bed. The party happens wherever Grammy goes, so her grown children, grandchildren and friends may pull up chairs in the bedroom, and even pile onto the bed with her and her cat Tessie.
Yesterday when I called them for our daily visit my sister was also there, so we all had a conversation on speaker-phone. I mentioned the purple asparagus and recalled the passionate purple pant suit, which led to more memories of other outfits we helped our mother buy. Like a certain sparkly New Year’s Eve jumpsuit, which led to the idea of hanging a disco ball from the light in my mother’s bedroom. “What would the neighbors think if they saw those sparkling lights?” They’d think it was cool. Because our mother is very cool and we all know it. A disco ball in that bedroom would be perfect. Much better than a helicopter.
Happy Mother’s Day to all my friends and family. May this day refresh memories of our childhood with our moms and our grandmothers, our aunts and other special women in our lives. May we savor the phone calls and breakfasts and special meals with loved ones this weekend. May our children and grandchildren always think their mothers and grandmothers are cool. And may every mother – at each stage of motherhood throughout life- remember that we are and always will be – COOL.
I think I’ll send my mother a disco ball for her bedroom.
Thanks to Frieda’s for sending purple asparagus for me to try. Neither The Farmer nor I had ever tasted purple asparagus. They’re delicious raw or sautéed or steamed or grilled. These were so tender and tasty..sweet with mild nutty flavor. Frieda’s label says they’re an excellent source of folate and vitamin C. We are really enjoying them.