I remember when I was about 10 years old, finding a book called just that: Mother is Another Name for Love. It was one of those little gift books full of pictures and sayings. As I looked through the pages, I thought my heart would burst with love for my own mother. I spent what money I had and bought that book for her.
Was I proud?
Does Annie-fatso-newborn-baby-beagle-of-the-universe like to eat?
Anyway, this is a belated Happy Mother’s Day! (This is okay, isn’t it?) And mothers are not just people who have children. No. I have had many mothers in my life. Some of them were people close to my own age but who had more wisdom than I had. Some of them were sweet little ladies I knew for 5 minutes in a grocery store parking lot when they offered to hold my newborn babe while I put my groceries in the car! Some of them were great aunts who took me under their wings.
What got me to thinking about this whole business of mothers, and then mothers who are mothers by heart and not necessarily by having children of their own (other than Mother’s Day, of course), was the Bronte children. I have been reading this past week or so about the young Bronte children; of how Papa came and retrieved Charlotte and Emily from school and took them home to the moor — to Haworth. In the beginning, Charlotte was quite put out over having to leave school, but when she was reunited with Branwell and little Anne (all of them orphans!), her heart began to soften. Thinking of their mother who had died and left them, in the end Charlotte decided that she may not need an education so much as Branwell and little Anne needed looking after. Young though she was, Charlotte had the heart of a good mother!
Then there’s the matter of being a mother; the matter of having given birth or adopted a baby into your own arms. Oh, how sweet! I remember when I had Michaela, I got a card from my late dad. He said, “Are you a mother yet again?” Each time is immensely special!
I love my babies. All four of them. All of their little stubborn ways, all of their kind gestures towards me. I love the memories I have of each one of them nestling into my arms and looking at me as if I was the only being on the planet besides them. It’s an everlasting joy.
The child I speak of shall remain nameless, but at some point in time, one of my children gave me this Haiku poem that they composed all on their own:
When I was younger
not knowing where to go to
I found peace in you
There’s the next poet laureate right there! Found right at your very own Rose Cottage! And there goes my heart again, bursting at the seams with pride!
Well, we must talk about it. There’s the matter of the mother-in-law. Oh, hush your mouth before you say anything bad. Actually, most of us probably inherited very good mothers-in-law. Now, I myself had a lovely mother-in-law, but during her last years, well, let’s just say that she kept me busy, even as the old postcard says!
During her last years she had lots of time on her hands and sort of a short memory. I was at home with four children ages 11 and under and trying to type full time and homeschool, and my mother-in-law called me about 1000 15 times a day. Really. She would call and ask me if I knew what to do when a commode was running and would not stop. Then she’d call me back 10 minutes later and say she would sure be in trouble over the water bill and how again did you get the water to stop running. Then she’d call me about an hour later and tell me about that time a black snake was in her bedroom and she thought it was a belt on the floor and picked it up. Then she called me a few minutes later and said it had flicked it’s tongue at her. Then she called me a few minutes after that and said the snake was about two feet long. About an hour later she called to tell me the snake was four feet long. Then there was the time she called and I (very guiltily) decided just this once that I had to keep typing and not pick up the phone but let the answering machine get it instead.
“Lynn Wilson? I am looking for Lynn Wilson. Is this the home of Lynn Wilson? A strange person was talking on your phone and then stopped. Are you okay? If Lynn Wilson is there could she come to the phone? Could you tell her that I called.” Looooooooooong silence.
I learned it was easier just to answer.
After about a year of this — this last year or so of her life, she was gone. I had lost a mother. Not a mother-in-law. She was sweet and kind (and eccentric) and she always said she loved me like a daughter, which is one more reason it was easier to just pick up the phone. I loved her.
So here’s to every person who has a mother’s heart! Here’s to kindness. Here’s to having candy in your purse to give away to children with big, bright eyes. Here’s to slowing down in later years and giving out advice. (But, please, not too much of it.) Here’s to giving young people lots and lots to do.
Enjoy this day!