When it comes to Mother’s Day remembrances, certain recollections float to the surface of the deep pool of my memory.
My mother’s birthday was also in May so that merry month brought more than one day of celebrating Mom. I always associated May with flowers because often times we would purchase flats of flowers for Mom’s Mother’s Day gift which she would plant in her flower gardens.
Mom loved to garden and she loved her flowers. There were always perennials in bloom in several areas around our yard and she delighted in the annuals she placed in one flower garden, the one with the pretty bird bath in the center.
When I was young, Mother’s Day began with attending church which would be packed with families all lined up in the pews with their proud mamas. We ladies, young and old, wore flower corsages on Mother’s Day to show honor to our mothers.
In our community, you wore a white corsage if your mother was no longer living and a pink or red one if you were still blessed to have your mother with you. I remember the day my mom wore a white carnation corsage to church because her mother had passed away the previous year. And even though I was small, I proudly wore my pink carnation.
My first Mother’s Day was truly remarkable. Forty-five minutes before midnight the night before Mother’s Day arrived, my first-born daughter arrived in this world. Her daddy, a military man, was stationed all the way across the world when she arrived, but even that couldn’t thwart my joy about becoming a mother for the first time just in time for that special occasion.
I became a mother twice again and each time that joy increased. Mother’s Day became even sweeter than before. Out of all my accomplishments in life, becoming a mother has been the most fulfilling which came as a complete surprise to me because as a young college girl I had proudly proclaimed I wasn’t going to have children. Oh, the follies of youth.
My own mother passed away from cancer over 17 years ago. Just four months prior to that, my mother-in-law, who I loved, admired, and honored for raising the fine man my husband became, also passed away.
Mother’s Day that year was so very difficult. I didn’t want to celebrate this special occasion. I opted out of the annual Mother-Daughter dinner held at our church. I just couldn’t even begin to think about the day with any joy.
My wise and caring father asked me why I wasn’t attending the mother-daughter event and I told him I couldn’t. I didn’t want to watch all of the happy ladies sitting and enjoying their time with their mothers when I had lost my own.
His reply surprised me and I’ve never forgotten his words. He told me he knew the anguish I felt losing my mom. He had felt that way too when his own mother passed away. He said he understood the grief is so difficult and that losing your mother felt like losing a part of yourself.
But his next remark was the one that will stay in my thoughts as long as I have memory. He said, “But, you must celebrate Mother’s Day because you are a mother. You have three children who love you and you celebrate this day for them.”
He was so very right. As my dad often was.
So even though there is a tinge of sadness in me when Mother’s Day rolls around on the calendar, I celebrate that day because I am a mother. I am blessed with three incredible adult children. I am loved and respected and honored by those three.
This year Mother’s Day brought another first. It was the first time I shared the day with one of my daughters who celebrated her very first Mother’s Day as a mother to our precious granddaughter.
Papa cut a sprig of fragrant lilac from the bush in our yard and he and I helped our sweet grandbaby awaken her mommy with a card and little gift for her very first Mother’s Day celebration.
My first Mother’s Day as a grandmother will be added to that memory pool with joy and contentment. And the knowledge of being privileged to spend it with my daughter and adorable grandbaby.
Even though my other children couldn’t be here to share this special day, I know they were thinking of me. Their love arrived in phone calls, cards, and beautiful flowers.
And love surely was expressed in my granddaughter’s smiles and coos.
“The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new.” ~Unknown