Mom- An enigma wrapped in emotionOffbeat

I am forever spring cleaning. That is what I do best. I am always cleaning my room and attempting to reorganize my belongings. By sheer serendipity, while sifting through all my papers, I found an old newspaper clipping that fell in line with Mother’s Day.

 

Having lost my mother at a young age, Mother’s Day is an awkward time for me. I am grateful to have many adopted mothers; these are women who love me just like I am their own daughter. However, despite all these wonderful women in my life, I can’t help but sometimes feel a little indifferent about Mother’s Day. Yes, on Mother’s day I do  acknowledge those who are mothers or even fathers who take care of children. Yet, this time period is a constant reminder that while I have many mothers, I can no longer see, feel, or speak to my own blood mother. Normally, during this time period, I am bombarded with advertisements for flowers, chocolates, dinners, and more. This week all I could see was the Time’s magazine article cover with the statement “Are You Mom Enough?” I have yet to read the article, but it seems to be about attachment parenting. The statement “Are You Mom Enough?” along with the image of a young child breast feeding is an obvious marketing ploy to grab individual’s attention.

 

However, the question at hand almost perfectly fell in line with the two newspaper columns I found. I tried to Google search the citation for these articles, but I could not find them. However, I do have the author names and article titles.

 

Love too late is a mournful thing
Ann Landers Column 
Advice
“Dear Ann: I had a marvelous mother who loved, sacrificed foor and helped me in ever way she could. All my years of growing up, through college and eventually marriage, my mother was at my side. When I needed help with my little ones she was right there for me.
Today we buried that wonderful woman. Can you imagine how I felt when I returned from the services and found this poem?
The Time is Now
“If you are ever going to love me,
 me now, while I can know,
The sweet and tender feelings
Which from true affections flow.
Love me now while I am living.
Do not wait until I’m gone
And then have it chiseled in marble,
            Sweet words on ice-cold stone.
If you have tender thoughts of me
Please tell me now.
If you wait until I am sleeping,
Never to awaken
There will be death between us
And I won’t hear you then.
So if you love me, even a little bit,
Let me know it while I am living
So I can know and treasure it.”
Now she is gone and I am sick with guild because I never told her what she meant to me. Worse yet, I didn’t treat her as she deserved to be treated. I found time for everyone and everything, but I never made time to visit Mom just to give her pleasure. The time we spent together was when I needed her. Never once was she too busy to come help out.

 

Mom lived nearby. It would have been easy for me to drop in for a cup of team and a hug, but my friends came first. Would any one of them do for me what she had done? I know the answer.

 

When I called Mom on the phone our conversations were brief and hurried. I feel ashamed when I think of the times I cut her short with, “Sorry, I have to run.” I remember, too, the times I could have included her and didn’t.

 

Our children loved “Grandma” from the time they were babies. They often turned to her rather than me for counsel and comfort. She understood them. I realize now I was too critical, too short-tempered, too stingy with praise. My goals for them were unrealistic. Grandma gave them unconditional love.

 

The world is filled with daughters like me. I hope many of them will see this column and profit from it. For me it is too late and I am sick with regrets. I’m signing my letter
Guilty and Heartbroken

 

Dear Daughter: Here is your letter – on Mother’s Day. I was deeply moved by it and am sure others will be, too. Bless you for sharing.”

 

Mom- an enigma wrapped in emotion
Erma Bombeck Column
At Wit’s End
1985 Los Angeles Times Syndicate
 
“Mothers, you’ve met the ones today on the greeting cards surrounded by roses whose very name rhymes with “no other.” The perfect ones with the saintly smiles and the gentleness of a water softener.
But in reality, who is she?

 

She’s an enigma who is faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a gold American Express car, and able to leap three cars at the drive-in to order you home before 11.

 

Is she really life set to poetry?
“My mother was Genghis Khan in drag. When she lived with us the world stopped while she napped.”
“Mother drives me crazy. I’m 60 years old and she still pours me half a glass of milk and tells me not to spill it.”
“You wanta talk guilt? I even apologized for having emergency surgery on her birthday.”

 

She’s an awesome force who has a hold on you that no one can explain, even if you never saw her. She is also a bundle of contradictions.
“Answer me right now. And don’t talk with food in your mouth.”
“I know you love him, but dump him. I want you to be happy.”
“You have got to start standing on your own two feet and being responsible for yourself. You can live at home while you’re doing it.”

 

She has a scray quality for knowing what you do when she doesn’t see it, what said when she doesn’t hear it, and what you mean when you don’t say it.

 

You spend a lifetime trying to please her and become what she wants you to be. Just when you think you’ve pulled it off, she pulls in the string, nearly choking you to death.

 

You can’t seem to sort of the motions you feel for her—fear, apprehension, disappointment, anger, frustration, love.

 

A mother has another mysterious quality that defies explanation. Although your father is often bigger, louder and pays the bills, she is the glue that holds the family together.
“Your brother’s birthday is next week. Be there!”
“See you at Aunt Kate’s funeral. You don’t have to know what she looks like. I’ll point her out to you.”
“Get rid of this stupid answering machine or you’re out of the will.”

 

Whether she is a good mother or a difficult mother, know that when she dies, nothing will be the same again. Without her, the family drifts. No one can take the place of the eyes that have seen it all, the hands that reached out and healed, the very presence that brought you comfort and stability just by being there.

 

The greeting card mothers are nice.

 

But they don’t even begin to capture that complex woman who touches our lives in such a way that when she goes the pain is unbearable.”

 

I have no idea what newspaper these two column were in, I do know it was on page 12 in section ‘You’ or maybe ‘You’ is the name of the newspaper. Wherever and whenever these columns were published, their wisdom still holds true today.

 

What are some stories about your mother?

 

***Lisa-Marie 

An urban planning PhD student finding peace in creating a balance between the mind, body, soul, & environment.

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Photo Credit: Lisa-Marie Pierre

COMMENTS

  1. Thank you for the comments Missyme!! Even though you were raised by your grandparents, your grandmother I’m sure loved you like a mother would; so you have had that experience though different from most. Such wise words, it is true that a mother’s love has no bounds and you show that daily through your interactions with your children! You are a great mom!

    • byMissyme
    • onMarch 3, 2014

    I love that picture. You’ve always been a cutie.

    • byMissyme
    • onMarch 3, 2014

    I was raised by my grand-parents. I really don’t know how it feels to be loved by my own mother. The only example I have is the love that I have for my children and, if my mother can love me that much, despite the odds and the circumstances, I think that is pretty good. A mother’s love has no bounds. It is pretty intense. Nothing compares to it.

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