Mother. Yours and mine. The bond is unmistakable. Imagine the fetus that gets nurtured in a woman’s womb for nine months. That’s a long time to forge a bond. Yes, fathers are also loved for they provide for our material needs and teach us valuable lessons, but mothers are perhaps a little more special because we were housed in her womb – a warm cozy place where we developed from a fetus to a human being.
That probably explains why we let out a cry as soon as we see the light of day. A baby’s cry is vital because it means it’s alive, but that cry may symbolize a protest against being torn away from the mother’s flesh, a separation that is unbearable and undesirable.
Even if our relationship with our mother was far from perfect, we’d still agree that she is the most precious being that matters to us the most. She influences us to a degree that we later realize – when we ourselves become mothers – that the very things we rebelled against are the same lessons we want our children to learn.
Mothers have a thankless role; they get no time off from their never-ending tasks. A woman’s work is never done, they say, and this is so true for mothers. As soon as they bear children, they have a mission that has no finish date. They perform their duties non-stop and they’ll do anything to ensure that we turn out to be decent human beings with a strong sense of integrity and responsibility.
Mother: Angelic Even in Hardship
The inventor of Mother’s Day did the entire world a favor. At least once a year, we get that rare chance to say thank you in our most eloquent fashion. Around May, just as spring begins to seep through the planet, kindred souls around the world get together to praise the virtues of motherhood. All kinds of mothers – no matter what situation they are in – deserve our praise and love. Thanks to mothers, communities all over the globe raise and nurture children the way mothers know best. There is no greater gift than to be blessed with a mother whose tank never runs out of fuel.
Society has imposed an impossible task upon mothers: to raise generations of productive citizens. When a homeless child is deprived of a mother’s love, witness what happens to that child’s intellectual, motor and physical development. A child bereft of a mother is not a complete human being. A mother creates a child, and it is also a mother that puts a soul in that child.
We should all take a moment to honor those mothers who are raising children on their own. Theirs is an arduous journey, their days filled with challenges that threaten the moral fiber. The human spirit is so easily weakened by the tortuous grind of rearing children. True mothers consistently go back to the drawing board in spite of the odds. Blessed are those who accept this task cheerfully and with determination. Mothers who throw in the towel because they can no longer continue with their responsibilities cannot be called real mothers.
Mother: A Person with Talents
Individuals who have talented and gifted mothers have their lucky stars to thank. The genetic pool will ensure that they get all or a portion of those talents and gifts. A mother who played the cello as a child will leave a rich legacy of music to her children. A mother who studied, interpreted and defended the law will instill the love for peace and justice in her children. A mother who worked well with her hands will produce offspring who will not be ashamed of manual work, learning to be self-sufficient, and never having to beg because their hands will create what is necessary to survive.
Our own mother passed away in 1987 but her person comes alive in our mind every time we look back to those years when we lived with her. We can still smell her favorite perfumes – L’Air du Temps, Givenchy, Channel No. 5 – and NOT to our surprise, they are the scents we prefer over the newer ones that have recently flooded the market.
We can still picture our mom seriously bent over the piano keys, feeling every texture of the notes and the flats and the sharps so that she could give George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue a dose of poetic justice. Rhapsody in Blue is the piece that rekindles fond memories of our mother, and she is largely responsible for our adulation of George Gershwin, one of America’s greatest composers. And how she also effortlessly tackled The Bumble Bee, a most difficult piano piece.
Thanks to our mother, we’ve developed a fondness for the written word. “You have to read a lot”, she would admonish us. “Read so you can converse intelligently” – it was a message she never failed to deliver. She would drag us to the library, to church, to museums – places we detested as an adolescent, and yet, now, we feel our lives are not complete without a trip to the library and attending Sunday service. Shame on us, the only thing we did not inherit from her was her love for museums.
And mother’s cooking – she was quite an indefatigable worker in the kitchen. We devoured her arroz a la paella, stuffed shrimps, and pasta salads with gusto. She forced fruits and vegetables down our throats, and then finishing up the ritual with vitamins A, C, and D. She thought we were too skinny and sickly that she bought a constant supply of multi vitamins.
“Enough make-up…take off those pieces of jewelry…do you want to look cheap and look like a Christmas tree with all those trinkets on you?” We ignored her, and put back the make-up and trinkets as soon as we were out of the house. Fast forward to 2007. She was absolutely right. We hate make-up and the only piece of jewelry we wear these days are a watch and a string of pearls. “Aim for a quiet type of elegance, nothing vulgar or flashy”, she’d say.
Goodness, if we had children of our own, we’d probably be saying and doing the same things that we fought against when we were young.
We trust this Mother’s Day will re-unite mothers and daughters, so they can look forward to happy moments and renew that bond at birth, reminding each other that if not for them, we’d be like the barren desert.
If you’re agonizing over what to give your mother, you may take pen and paper (or use that old-fashioned device – the computer) and wax something romantic and poetic, just like what Strickland Gillilan did (1869-1954):
“You may have tangible wealth untold;
Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.
Richer than I you can never be —
I had a mother who read to me.”
As we look back to those years, we’d give anything to be able to curl up in the sofa again listening to the strains of Gershwin on the piano with a slice of Devil’s Food Cake on our lap – a cake that mother always baked to perfection. Except this time, we’d make sure our face was not camouflaged in make-up and that we aren’t wearing those ghastly chunks of metal.