It is Mother’s Day once again, a day far too many of us place far too little emphasis on. We all know it is coming, but like many things in our “busy” lives, we procrastinate and then attempt to recover at the last minute.
Over the years, I am certain there were some Mother’s Days, we, as your children, simply forgot. For that I apologize, and for that reason, I wanted to take time today to share my thoughts on your endless ability to love us despite our procrastination and forgetfulness.
You have raised six human beings, which is no small feat. Because of your unwavering devotion, we have all reached adulthood and our own version of happiness and fulfillment.
Your talent, like your love and devotion, was limitless. You were a painter, a writer, a singer, a poet, a musician (12 string guitar with her left hand, even though she was right-handed), and a mender of boo-boos and hearts.
The things you taught us are among our greatest life lessons, making your wisdom and compassion of character our greatest teacher.
You taught your daughters how to value ourselves. We watched as you struggled with generational polarities and expectations of whether you fit in the category of emulating the 1950’s TV housewife or the bra burning 60’s girl. I always felt you were more the latter, but your humbleness and willingness to fit in with all the pomp and circumstance Vickys of the world showed that you could be any one you wanted. Watching as you let things that hurt you simply slip by, knowing that you cried when no one was listening, as you felt brokenhearted and unheard, lit a fire in your daughters. That fire, that strength you instilled in us taught us to stand up for what we believed in, even when it wasn’t in line with the opinions of others. And, most importantly, it taught us to never back down easily when we knew that it was the right thing to do.
You taught your children how to value others. You were one of the few mothers who welcomed difference. You would babysit for the neighborhood ‘outcasts’ as you saw an opportunity to teach their children about a loving, semi-functional family that they otherwise wouldn’t have known. You supported your kids when we befriend, and dated, kids from other ethnic groups – and from the youngest of ages, you taught us to have empathy for the kid no one else would play with.
You taught us what love truly means. Mom, your depth of character and capacity to love simply amazes me. Through so many disappointments, difficulties, and broken hearts, you always managed to love effortlessly and authentically. You didn’t have a fake bone in your beautiful body, nor a shred of spite in your angelic soul. No one can say that is easy, as it is far too common to become jaded and cynical as we experience more of life’s challenges and encounter the human-side of hurt. You mom, your love, was simply unwavering.
For all these reasons, and many more, I wanted to take a moment to share why you are, always have been, and always will be the greatest mother life could have gifted us. Thank you for all of the talents, wisdom, and principles that you passed on to us – and thank you for loving us even in moments when we disappointed you.
It has been 14 years since we last spoke or touched, since that fateful year that we laid your body to rest, and it never gets easier to be without you. I know that we all are composed of you and your many talents. I know we all have the depth of you, your empathy, your open-mindedness, your capacity to love. I know that we are pieces of the wisdom you passed on – as in your silence you showed great strength and in your courage you embodied conviction.
We will never be okay without you, but you can have faith that you taught us well and it is that which keeps us going. Always know how much we love and miss you – not just today, but every day.
In memory of Barbara Jean Elder – you are loved eternally.