by Kevin Burton
“Your mother!” is the ultimate street putdown because your mother is your ultimate friend.
When it doesn’t work out that way for a person, that lack is felt and carried, maybe unexpressed or unacknowledged, but carried nonetheless.
If you have somehow overlooked it, today is Mother’s Day. It may not be too late to plan something special for mom, even if it is just a call.
I had some thoughts on Mother’s Day last year on Page 7 amid the jolting uncertainty of the virus crisis. I was thinking about virtual celebrations, IOUs for hugs. We observed an unnatural distance, enforced under penalty of a painful, lonely death.
Last Mother’s Day I was hoping restrictions could be lifted in a matter of months. Maybe we could celebrate in July. That turned out to be wishful thinking.
This year the outlook is much sunnier. All parties have done the responsible thing and had their Covid 19 shots. We can do a lot more things this year. Still, we have practicalities in mind more than elaborate celebrations.
In February as part of a Valentine’s Day series, I said that “every day is Valentine’s Day.” Well, I will say now that every day is Mother’s Day. And I guess I will stop going to that line.
The virus didn’t teach me, but certainly has reminded me, to savor every day, every sunrise, every moment, every shared experience. Life’s frustrations and disagreements, let them drift away when you can.
Those times when I have grieved or disappointed my mother, I hope she keeps those memories in perspective.
My mother is in her mid-80s. She’s never attempted anything like mid-80s before. But my research indicates that this only leads to upper 80s and 90s, at best.
So we know what we’re in for
It’s not difficult to hear, but very difficult to take, that quaver of pain in mom’s voice when the arthritis in her right shoulder is too painful to be ignored.
This is the one who gave me a bowl of Campbell’s chicken noodle soup after my first day of kindergarten, and the soup was almost to the edges of the bowl so that if you shook a little or stumbled you would spill some? We lived in Bermuda then.
This is the one who slept on our couch certain nights, after the move to Ohio and after the divorce, while I slept on the floor. The sleeping part only started after we had talked about nothing and everything until I drifted off.
As I struggled after college, my mother believed in me when it seemed the entire rest of the world, including myself, had stopped?
So when she is hurting and all I have are words to help with, that’s hard to take, even when some of those words are prayers.
What life role on earth can top motherhood? What role is more essential?
“Motherhood is the biggest gamble in the world. It is the glorious life force,” said the late comedienne Gilda Radner, who was a life force herself on the small screen. “It’s huge and scary. It’s an act of ultimate optimism.”
“There is no influence so powerful as that of the mother,” said Sarah Josepha Hale, who wrote the nursery rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb.”
“My mother is my root, my foundation,” said NBA legend Michael Jordan. “She planted the seed that I base my life on, and that is the belief that the ability to achieve starts in your mind.”
“A mother’s love is everything. It is what brings a child into the world. It is what molds their entire being,” said author Jamie McGuire. “When a mother sees her child in danger she is capable of literally anything. Mothers have lifted cars off of their children and destroyed entire dynasties.
“A mother’s energy is the strongest energy known to man,” McGuire said.
Superheroes like that, shouldn’t we be celebrating them every day in every way?