Sunday, May 08, 2005

The Mothers In My Life...

It was, despite the pounding 40 mm ( almost 2 inches) of rain and high winds, quite a wonderful Mother’s Day! I woke up early in the morning to the sound of the rain and wind lashing against our bedroom window. The sound of running water always produces a rather predictable result with me... and I needed to leave the warm coziness of our bed for the bathroom. Peering out into the back yard, I could see that a rather large pond was forming at the end of the deck and so raced downstairs to be sure that nothing was coming in the basement windows again. The sound of Mommy thumping down the stairs in her bunny slippers woke the girls, who were then in a panic about getting my Mother’s Day gifts to the table before I got there. They decided instead to pounce on me the moment I returned upstairs and present me with presents in bed! They were quite keen to serve me breakfast in bed as well, but the thought of bits of Shredded Wheat finding its way into my bed sheets or frozen blueberries hitting the duvet cover were enough to have me begging for breakfast at the dining room table “fancy restaurant style”. I was ordered to remain in bed until they were ready. When Nick and I were called down (after much cupboard slamming and thumping sounds), we found the table set up for a romantic candlelight breakfast with the frozen blueberries and milk in their own special containers and water in fancy glasses near our lovingly pulverized Shredded Wheat biscuits. Erin explained that the candles were left alone because “they weren’t allowed to touch the matches yet!”

Erin and Bethany both sing in the Sunbeam Choir at church. They repeated their new song from last Sunday night’s concert where many of them got stage fright in front of such a huge audience. Bethany had missed her closing solo entirely and had to repeat it under prompting from the director, so this morning she was in an absolute panic that she would “mess everything up and ruin it again!” I explained that making a JOYFUL noise did not mean making a PERFECT noise... but when one of the boys doing a solo right before her failed to get out of the way to let her to the mike, she missed her cue during the first practice and promptly burst into tears. She and I spent minutes cuddling while the senior choir practiced their number. One of the older girls in the Sunbeam Choir who is also quite shy, like Bethany< came over to tell her that she got scared too having to start off the whole song. With encouragement from everyone and some clever blocking by the Choir director to get one boy away from the mike as soon as his turn was done to make room for Bethany, things went much better during the second rehearsal. When it came time for the performance during the service, everything went beautifully. Erin’s confident solo carried all the way to the back of the church and she anchored most of the piece without overpowering everyone else. Then, as the end drew near, Bethany approached the mike, took a deep breath and out came this lovely sweet voice to close off the piece with her solo. As soon as she was done, her face split into this radiant grin that I could just make out through the tears of pride and joy streaming down my face.

After church we raced home to check on the backyard, run the pump for a bit and then grabbed the lobster out of the fridge to head down to spend the afternoon with Nick’s Mum and Jerome. We had a wonderful feast with homemade rolls, light salads, lobster and a lovely low-calorie dessert she’d created. They’ve been losing weight steadily since Jerome’s heart problems at the beginning of the year, so it was nice to have a meal that satisfied taste buds without making us feel stuffed. We curled up in the living room and Mum (I stopped calling her by her first name recently because she really is my “other mother”) showed me how to turn my 10 skeins of wool into balls. I’d spent almost 2 hours grumbling and untangling one skein the night before to wind it into a single ball. As I held the wool skein on my hand, she showed me how to create a ball of yarn that I’d be able to draw the wool from the center instead of the outside. It does cut down on the amount of escaping and rolling your ball of wool does as you knit!!

We drove home before dark past swollen rivers and almost flooded roadways to call my own Mom and wish her a Happy Mother’s Day. I then tucked Bethany into bed, got Erin set up for her 20 minutes of French reading and disappeared down here to reflect on Motherhood and the women who have mothered to me in my life.

I have been blessed to have a Mother who took the time to make things with us, left little notes, inspired us to find our wings even as she longed to keep us close to home, showed us that it was never too late in life to try new things and always made us feel loved, even when we fought with her. Her example gave me so much to draw from as I became a Mother myself. She still chuckles sometimes when I call to say “SORRY!!” for stuff that I did as a child now that I can see it from the parent’s perspective!! While she told me many times when I was young that I would understand better when I became a Mother, she has never said “I told you so!” in all the years that have proved her right!

Instead of a “Monster-In-Law” that some describe, I found in my husband’s mother a wonderful lady whose creativity and pursuit of excellence I can very much understand, whose compassion and determination I try to emulate and whose objective tenderness I have come to appreciate and treasure since it comes without the parent/child ties that sometimes get so tangled. Between Mum and Mom, I have great women to keep my own journey through Motherhood a bit saner.

There have also been other strong women who have “mothered” to me at various times in my life whom I also think of on this special day. Mothering does not necessarily have to involve the act of giving birth to forge those ties of heart or spirit between lives. The physical act of bringing a new life into this world does not create a Mother in the truest sense of the word... I doubt that I could ever put it into words that would do justice to the power, the empathy, the compassion, the vulnerability, the sacrifice, the separation, the terror, the pride, the fears, the joys, the dreams and the depth that true motherhood calls forth from a person who “mothers” to another. Those gifts and memories, those deeds and bits of wisdom become a part of my own Motherhood tapestry that will someday weave on without me as the thread is picked up and continued on.