Happy Mothers Day!
“A mother is your first friend, your best friend, your forever friend.” —Unknown
“What if we really revered the postpartum woman?
What if we took it slow with her?
Shared her tears and laughter
Cooked her nourishing food
Watched and marveled in the glow of a cherished woman who has just birthed the next star in the universe
What if she handed over her chores and not her baby to the many eager friends?
What if we wove webs of soft love around her?
Pots of fresh tea and new sheets crisp and clean off wind beaten lines
Ice packs and cabbage leaves and tissues waiting
Moments captured forever, languid and drunk with love
What families would emerge?
What children would shoulder their way into adulthood?
What would the world look like if we treated new mothers as goddesses? “
I love the above posting about the first days after you’ve just become a mother. It’s so very true and I know it from first hand experience. My mother was many things..an entrepreneur, a volunteer, a tireless worker for social justice and the environment. She was a devoted wife and mother. She was, as all mothers are, complex and passionate, but she really did understand what it meant to be a woman and she was always there for us when we needed her. Whenever we were sick, out would come her white wicker bed tray and the lovely Limoges bed tray set, complete with a teapot of its own and a covered plate. She made us the loveliest foods, tea, soup and little sandwiches with the crusts cut off and we’d lay in bed feeling like princesses and hoping for at least two more days of the flu so that the “treatment” could continue!
She flew out to California to help my sister after she had her son and when I gave birth to my son Alex, she moved into our home for the week following my return home. It was a time that I treasure. She cooked for me and did the laundry and cleaned my house. She brought me my baby when I wanted him and held him while I napped. She helped me with my Sitz baths, rubbed my back to help relax me so that my milk could come in and simply brightened up our home with flowers and fancy fruits that she had my father bring every evening when he was done working. She made me pots of tea and gave me hugs when I couldn’t sleep and wiped away my tears when the moodiness was so overwhelming. The one funny story is that I never changed a diaper the whole time she was there, so my husband had to teach me, but all and all, it was a time with my mother that I’ve never forgotten. I remember her saying…” Everyday when you’ve just had a baby is Mother’s Day especially with the first one, because you’re just learning to be a mother”.
It was one of the loveliest times of my life with her. We were women sharing the experience of birth, and she cared for me, my husband and son with so much love.
When I was her child, Mother’s Day was a holiday that I loved celebrating. It always meant that I got to get up early to make my mother breakfast in bed, which was her absolute most favorite thing in the world to enjoy and something that she never did because she worked obsessively full time in the family business.
So every year starting from a very early age, Mothers Day would find me up and prowling about, first to find the bed tray and the precious porcelain set and then into the kitchen where I’d make her favorite meal of buttered toast points with the crusts removed, fresh asparagus spears and scrambled eggs with tons of hot dogs stirred into them , diced onions and lots of American cheese. First I’d bring her the Sunday paper with instructions to “NOT EVEN DARE GO OUT OF THE ROOM, MOTHER” and then I’d make her a pot of jasmine tea, which was another pleasure that she totally loved yet didn’t allow herself often.
I loved making that meal all by myself in her kitchen and I always made enough so that I could have some too! The asparagus and toast points were easy enough but the most fun were the eggs! It was a wonderful dish….first you browned the onions and hot dogs and if that didn’t smell wonderful enough then you added a bit of minced fresh garlic. Then I would add the eggs that were gently beaten with tons of fresh chives from her garden and let the whole mess cook for a bit. Then I would add the cheese…huge glorious gobs of it …so much that the whole thing became a huge melty mess! Fortunately for me I taught my husband and son to make this very early on!
I’d assemble the bed tray complete with her Grandmothers linen and then the last part was a quick run into the garden where holding my breath I’d search for her favorite Virginia Bluebells. I never checked the day before to see if they had bloomed, that was all part of the fun. There was one little fragrant patch of them, darling little dancing pink and blue flowers that had been given to her by her dear friend Louise. For some reason they always bloomed on Mother’s day regardless of the weather!
I’d find them and pick a few stems and go dancing into the house where I’d put them into a little Waterford bud vase. Then I’d have my father pick up the tray and we’d carry it in to their bedroom where she’d always gasp with delight and surprise! She’d eat the whole thing happily , while all the while nestled in her bed with it’s huge white embroidered duvet and fluffy down pillows. If it was terrible she never told me because I guess that’s what mother’s do! She’d finish, take a long leisurely bath (in all of the years that I knew her I do not think that she ever took a shower) and then off we’d go to the Cleveland Museum of Art or the Botanical Gardens and have a wonderful day. When my son was born the tradition changed a little bit and my family would make the same breakfast for me and then I’d quickly rush over to cook it for her! Eventually, we settled on dinner together and a lovely trip to the garden center where I’d buy her lots of flowers for her gardens and share just a lovely day enjoying her company.
I’d give anything to be able to do that one more time. I am blessed though to have my wonderful Mother in Law, Jean still with us who makes me laugh, loves us fiercely, gives us sage advice when we need it, is one of the greatest badasses I’ve ever known and most importantly, gave birth to the amazing man who made me a mother.
Happy Mother’s Day to all of the different kinds of mothers out there (and I would add pet mothers!) and wherever today finds you I hope that it’s filled with joy, gratitude, fabulous perfume, great food, great love, loads of sunshine and lots of flowers!
I love you all......
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