Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Thanks Mom

"Her eyes as stars of Twilight fair;
Like Twilight's too, her dusky hair;
But all things else about her drawn
From May-time and the cheerful Dawn;
A dancing Shape, and Image gay,
To haunt, to startle, and way-lay."
 - William Wordsworth, My Mother

As the month begins, I feel daunted by the work I face outside in the yard. All the handyman chores have been done by the handymen.

Now, the remaining work must be done by me. Rewarding, yes; but exhausting. It makes me marvel that my mother managed to do what she did for her kids.

I took all her work for granted when I saw her do it, and it never occurred to me that she must have been tired and overwhelmed at times. Sometimes that the worst part of my recollections is to see myself back then: so entitled and unthinking about her unceasing efforts to run the house full of noisy children, to cook, to clean, to simply organize and supervise the day-to-day business of getting us fed, dressed in clean clothes, coming and going to school and play. It seems now that part of the deal was that we never thought about how hard it was for her to make it so easy for us. It's simply what mothers did; and my mother did it gracefully and happily.

When she would return from the grocery store each week with dozens of paper bags of food, we'd each grab a bag from the trunk and take it into the kitchen and ask her what did you get for me. Her reply to each of us was always: it's all for you, dear.

The work I choose to do these days is work I have undertaken to please myself, and I can start and stop when I want. I am very fortunate to be in a position to indulge my hobbies without having to answer to the demands of bosses or children. Mom was rarely so fortunate, and I was rarely even aware of her efforts. If I could thank her this Mother's Day, I would do so with profound respect and love.

1 comment:

Martha in Michigan said...

I remember when that realization hit me. It was one evening after dinner had been cleaned up and before bedtime rituals began. Mom settled into one of the green chairs in the living room with the newspaper — probably the first time she had sat (excepting dinner) all day. I asked if she would hear my spelling words. (This was the spelling bee years, so there was no end to them.) She gave a little sigh, put down the paper, and said, "Of course, dear." Even as I realized she deserved some time off, I did not recall my request. I am still haunted by my selfishness.