Monday, May 9, 2011

Mothers' Day

I woke up this past Sunday morning from one of the stranger, more vivid dreams in my recent memory to an equally uncharacteristic thought: this was the fortieth Mother's Day I had experienced since my mother left this mortal coil and moved on to those greener pastures (the ones the G-d she wasn't sure she believed in had always told her He'd maketh her lie down in.) I've always considered Mother's Day and Father's Day to be commercial contrivances without much meaning - perhaps a step up from Valentine's Day, but still. Hallmark holidays have always aroused in me more cynicism than genuine sentiment.  And I know I'm not alone; I've observed that mothers on Mothers' Day, like fathers on Fathers' Day, frequently accept the cards and gifts and obligatory accolades with both a broad smile and a sharp eye out for some sign as to whether or not the honor will last past the day.

And yet…

Maybe it's Facebook, and all the friends who  posted photos of their Moms. Or maybe I've actually matured, evolved beyond the wry, sly negativity and the faux-rugged-individualism with which I've long masked my abandonment issues. They do say it takes forty years to really learn a lesson. Whatever the dynamic that brought me to this unprecedented point in time, I posted a Mothers' Day note on Facebook yesterday that I meant, from the heart, and that I hope I'll go on meaning - whether or not it suffices to make amends for my slightly scrooge-ish performance in prior years. One of my friends thanked me for it, and in the same breath she inquired as to what's up with my blog, which I've been neglecting in recent months.  I took the hint (thanks, CE) and am therefore reiterating those thoughts here, where they're perhaps more likely to hold me to them in days to come.

On this particular Mothers' Day, I wrote, it's appreciation that I feel compelled to express - simple, uncluttered, uncomplicated appreciation. Thank you, Ma. And thank you, all you other mothers, grandmothers, mothers-in-law, stepmothers, mothers-to-be, wanna-be mothers, and mothers of invention. I'm grateful to the long-gone ancestry of mothers of mothers of mothers. Though my own mother-memory extends just a couple of generations back, and scantly at that, this is one of those precious moments when the heart feels warmly what the mind finds unknowable. I'm grateful to the mother of my children, and to my children, some of whom are already mothers, and some of whom will be mothers before long, and all of whom have been blessed with the ability to see and feel and bring to fruition what it means to make room within oneself for another's gestation, birth, and growth. And that includes the boys - because fatherhood would not be fatherhood if it did not embrace within itself some smattering of motherhood. And vice versa.