Today it is Mother’s Day and we will celebrate the contributions that mothers make to their families and the impact they have made on the world.
I often think about the impact my mother has had on me. I see two stages in my life that her presence molded me into who I am today.
As a child, my mom provided routine, stability, a soft place to land. Whether we were playing a game of freeze tag in the neighbor’s yard or trolling for tadpoles in black rubber boots that smelled like old tires, it quickly ended when the Gudrie dinner bell rang through the neighborhood promptly at five. Seasons were marked by the cupcakes and heart-shaped or pumpkin-shaped cookies that were boxed up for each one of our seven classes. Fried bologna sandwiches for lunch, after school cookies and milk, and Sunday’s filled with church and roasted chicken with potatoes and nothing else because even God rested on Sunday so we should too.
As an adult, my mom became an inspiration.
She was strong, stubborn, determined. My father’s death left her to raise seven kids alone. How do you go on? She found a way.
She overcame replacement of knees, hips and knuckles as arthritis ravaged her joints. Pain was her constant companion and stole many of her life’s pleasures from her: making bread, knitting, playing tennis. How do you keep living when life is stolen from you piece by piece? She found a way. She fought for every moment, even if it hurt. How can I not be inspired? How can I not be strong, stubborn, determined when my challenges seem so small in comparison?
I now look to my own kids. What kind of impact have I had and will I have on them?
Their childhood memories will be different than mine as they remember backpacks filled with Barbies and snacks for the arena or gym somewhere in the province, the stereo blasting “I will walk Five Hundred Miles,” a bus to Campbellford, picking out Gatorade, sliding down the slide on a bare butt into cool water, running into the hot tub after making a snow angel, Gudrie Bashes, fireworks and S’mores. We didn’t have a dinner, bell but we did have family dinners. Holiday traditions still include those cookies that remind me more of my mom than the holiday.
Now that they are adults, I hope that I can be an inspiration to them, as much as my mother was to me.
I want them to see that you can fail and survive and come back to succeed again. The key is don’t give up, ever.
I want them to know that life is about finding happiness, not building a bank account.
I want them to know they are unique, they have something to share with the world that no one else can.
I hope I have inspired them to follow their dreams; love through pain, disappointment, and dirty socks on the floor; and to make the tough choices because they are the right choices.
Above all, I want them to know they are loved, they have a home, and they have a soft place to land, no matter what life throws at them. Because in the end, beyond whatever inspiration we can be for our children, love is the greatest gift a mother can give.
Happy Mother’s Day!!!!