Are You My Mother?

13 May

Once when feeling sad about not being a mother, a friend of mine very candidly said, “Look. Anyone can f—. Biological parents need to get over themselves and quit being so self-righteous. The real aspect of being a parent goes way beyond making a baby. And a number of people contribute to the raising of a child. Adopted parents, step-parents, foster parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, teachers, neighbors, social workers.”

So just who is a mother? The question reminds me of that children’s book, “Are You My Mother?” where if memory serves me, a little bird asks just about anything and everything if it is his or her mother, including crane machinery.

When I think about who has most mothered me in my life, my mother’s image does not immediately come to mind. Instead there are a list of women (and even men for that matter) who have truly seen me, nurtured me and provided me with tools for adulthood. And I am eternally gratefully to them for stepping into the shoes of “mother” when my own mother could not be available.

Nonetheless, on Mother’s Day it is my own biological mother who most comes to mind. The woman who carried me for nine months in her womb and who every day, for eighteen years fed me, clothed me and called herself my mother lingers in my heart. If “love is in the cooking and the washing and the milking,” then there is something highly unique embedded in motherhood. Mothers do take the crown. To their children, they are royalty. For this reason, four years after my mother’s suicide her memory is most prominent, although the pain of her death lessens a little with time. Today I will not be going anywhere to celebrate “mom’s special day” other than church, but I thought it fitting to buy flowers anyway.

As I fell asleep last night thinking of my mother, I found it touching that this morning I awoke to Rumi’s little paws on my chest and Hafiz’s body curled in-between my feet, and I realized that on this Mother’s Day, I too am honored. While they can’t bring me breakfast in bed on a tray, their purring is thanks enough.

In the spirit of Mother’s Day, I think it’s vital that we all care for and nurture something – an animal, a child, our friends and family. In a nutshell, it is important that we nurture each other.

One Response to “Are You My Mother?”

  1. marykoepkefields May 13, 2012 at 3:06 pm #

    Thank you, Lise.

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