Gratitude * Sunday
Sunday’s heartfelt tradition.
A time to slow down, to reflect, to be grateful.
A list of gratitudes, our gratefulness feeds one another.
Quoted from Taryn Wilson
Joining the Gratitude Sunday Tradition at Wooly Moss Roots.
Newly sprouting grape
vines support tiny little
pink and green fringed leaves.
I think this one is harder, this second Mother’s Day with mom gone. Like last year I want to do something special in her name. I wanted to release a balloon or a hand-made air lantern into the air to let the universe know I remember. I will never forget her. I have a huge hole in my life that can never be refilled. Mother’s Day brings as much sorrow as joy.
Mother’s Day, of course, is one of our societal constructs with pressure to conform. This weekend the stores were so full of brightly colored, scentless flowers I could barely walk through the aisles, a baldly commercial attempt to induce guilt purchases. Do retailers really think thousands of people in every community will be buying flowers? Spending a few or a few thousand dollars on your mom on one designated day does not make up for a year of ignoring her. Any holiday that spends weeks on advertising stuff for sale to celebrate is merely a boon to retailers, not consumers or, necessarily, moms.
Let me tell you what your mom would like. Your mom would like you to spend some time with her. Lots of days, not just Mother’s Day. Take her out for a meal, to a movie, to the theater. Take her out to the lake, on a picnic in the park, on a boat ride. Take her camping, to an amusement park, bowling. Take time to talk with her, walk with her, ride with her. Cook a meal for her, do a chore for her, read a book to or with her. Call her regularly and tell her and show her you love her and appreciate all she did to raise you, whether good or bad.
I realize this can’t happen for every person. Some moms are not equipped for mothering and do more damage than good. If that’s your case thank your mother in your heart for her being the vehicle that gave you your lovely life in this world and let her go. Moms aren’t meant to be your best friend; it’s merely a lucky bonus if they are. Most of them guide you and help you the best they know how. Some know how better than others.
We say so much about the joys of mothering and they are myriad, but mothering can also be so much about sorrow. You don’t know the sorrow of your mother; you might know her story as she tells it to you, but you didn’t live her life. What did she sacrifice to bring you into this world? What or whom did she lose before you came to be with her? What did she do to pave the way for you, to make it easier for you to be you?
Women’s sorrows are as many and as varied as our joys. The sorrow of wanting a child and none happen, ever. The sorrow of a tiny loved and wanted embryo who doesn’t take or barely takes and then slips silently from your body. The sorrow of carrying a child within you for nine months and not getting to meet that soul because breathing in the air of life never begins. The sorrow of having a child who is physically or mentally differently abled. The sorrow of watching your child be bullied or struggle with the challenges of growing up. The sorrow of raising a child only to lose them to an early death through illness, injury, tragedy, or war. The sorrow of having an adult child who ignores you or hurts you. The sorrow of watching a child or adult child waste away from mental illness, drug or alcohol abuse, or sociopathy. The sorrow of simply not being with your child when you want for whatever reason.
Sorrow is a part of life, like pain, joy, happiness, and death. It is in the moment, and the next moment you might experience joy or wonder or amazement that we are even here on this glorious water planet to share its abundance with this wild variety of souls in bodies.
Because of all the things I learned from my mother – curiosity, researching, love of nature – and my own care for this planet that gives me a home, I researched releasing balloons and air lanterns. Sadly I had to eliminate the idea. Knowledge can be disappointing sometimes. Balloons come down somewhere creating litter and a possible wild life health hazard. And while air lanterns are beautiful and amazing to watch, even if an air lantern is made of bio-degradable materials, it can be a fire hazard. It may land while still burning and cause fire damage. It may not burn cleanly away resulting in litter falling to earth somewhere in the environment. The first imperative always remains: “Do no harm.” So we will not be inflicting any sort of possible harm upon the earth in the name of the mother.
I am going to light a scented candle for a short while in honor of my mom. I am considering making this a yearly ritual as it does not damage the earth and a carefully chosen candle will not damage the atmosphere. It gets all mixed up, you know, when I think about my mother, I think about my own mothering. This isn’t about anything she loved; it’s about how I feel and my love for her.
I bought myself a small box of my favorite delicious chocolates to celebrate the fact I had the privilege of being the vehicle to birth and raise a child to adulthood. I encourage all women to do this on Mother’s Day. And I do mean all women (including female-identifying and gender-free folks who are maternally caring) whether you have borne a child or not. In some way every woman is maternal and mothers. It’s not really about parenting but about caring. You care for your children, your family’s children, children who aren’t born to you but you raise, other people’s children, your home, your community, and your planet; you care and tend to. Do something nice for yourself. Don’t wait for them to honor you. Honor yourself. Buy yourself your favorite expensive chocolates, a bouquet of fragrant flowers to fill your week with wondrous aromas and beautiful faces and then throw them gratefully away, a patio basket of bright flowers to enjoy all summer, a ticket to that show you’ve been wanting to see, or a new summer dress. Go camping, to the beach, or take a walk in the garden. You don’t have to spend money; any treat that pleases you will do.
You are woman. You are the child of your mother and a child of the universe. You mother the world. You deserve honor and joy and all good things to help you bear the sorrow. Start with honoring and respecting yourself.
Color Watch – blooming attractions in my neighborhoods this week – a vast abundance of colors, creams and pinks and purple blossoms on the rhododendrons; Oregon’s roses are early this year; pink and yellow sweetly scented honeysuckle.
Currently Reading – The Secret Scripture (2008, fiction) by Sebastian Barry; The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing (2014, home economics) by Marie Kondo; How to Change Anybody: Proven Techniques to Change Anyone’s Attitudes, Behaviors, Feelings, and Beliefs (2005, communication psychology) by David J Lieberman. Yes, concurrently.
This week I have been grateful for:
The many things I have because of my mother:
- Curiosity and an inquiring mind.
- Intelligence and the ability to understand.
- An appreciation of arts and crafts.
- A library card since the age of 12.
- The encouragement to begin working for money in my own pocket at the age of 12.
- My work ethic.
- Knowing pain, and sorrow, and death are a vital part of living life on this planet.
- A genetic inclination toward saving stuff.
- Permission to discard stuff.
- An appreciation for nature, the natural world, and the beauty of all things.
- Looking for the good in most everybody.
- Empathy and the ability to think beyond myself.
- The ability to enjoy the rare entire day with nothing on the agenda.
- Water. The universal mother, without which life as we know it would not exist.
Hoping you have a lovely week.
Namaste. Peace. Blessings.
Floral ribbon border by Laurel Burch