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Trying to Fit Motherhood into a Card

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What to choose? I’m going with crafty this year.

As I survey the landscape of cards in the rack, the online options for ecards to send my mother, nothing quite fits. How do we sum up what our mothers have done and meant to us in a schmaltzy card with our signature at the bottom? I know she used to appreciate the homemade cards and ceramics we would bring home from school. When I visit her and my dad, I still see my early attempts at sculpture sitting on the windowsill in their home. The same goes for my kids, my prized possessions of Mother’s Days past, sit where I can see them when I get up in the morning and go to bed at night.

I save everything. I have the chest for each of my sons with all the treasures they have created for me over the years. I love to sit and go through it while I relive the past special moments of them growing up and making me loving cards and crafts each year. While mothering takes place year-round, it’s nice to be remembered for our dedication to our children on our special day. My mother thinks of this day differently, if you can’t call or visit, and tell someone their special the other 364 days of the year, don’t bottle it up till now. She has a point.

Going back to the rack, there is nothing there that sums up my mother. She has worked hard all her life for her kids, and at 80 continues to help her children and her grandchildren. Advising them on school choices and helping them with a financial hand-up. She is not a cookie baking grandmother, she was never much into desserts. However, I can remember excursions to the ice cream shop, after dinner, for a fresh churned single scoop in a waffle cone. She would help us lick our cones when the ice cream began to melt and flow down our hands. It’s those little things I remember and that can’t be found on a card. She still cooks enormous meals and has her house stocked whenever family visit, a gesture of her love. I guess the card could read: Thanks for the meals and eating my ice cream, when I couldn’t do it for myself. That just doesn’t flow or rhyme, but she’d love it anyway, and so would I.

When I got married and moved several states away, over three decades ago, my time with my mother was squeezed into several visits a year. When the kids came, she had to do most of the traveling to visit, which she did, so she could be part of their lives growing up. My children have very fond memories of their Nana and get a good chuckle from sharing stories of their time with her. She greets them with a big hug, wrapping her arms around them from her now smaller frame, each time she sees them. They fall back into a childhood routine as if the miles between them didn’t exist. And they have an open invitation to visit her anytime, which I wish they would take advantage of, more often. It’s special and I hope I have that with my grandchildren.

On Mother’s Day we won’t be together, it’s been a while since we spent this holiday together. I will call, my kids will reach out to her, but it’s not the same as being there. I had thought of sending flowers, a card, which is nice, but I decided to do something different. I am going to make her something. I found this old wooden oar down at the beach, cleaned it off and hand painted it. In few weeks, I will see her for a family event and will present it to her. I think she’ll find it funny, that her daughter in her 50s is reverting to her childhood ways and making her a homemade gift.

The point is, we are never too old to show our love to others who have been there through thick and thin, in a meaningful, crafty or in a schmaltzy card or with a bouquet of dandelions. As moms, we love it all.

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