Just thinking about this upcoming Mother’s Day. Funny thing: You and I never spent hours talking, but you said a lot before I left home.
What I mean is this: You were never one to come into my room, plop down on my bed, and say, “So tell me all about your day!” Instead, your habit was to do things together that provided gaps of time for us to share our thoughts with each other while doing something else “beside the point”:
• When we walked the country roads, we discussed the importance of an education.
• While we sloshed permanent solution on each other’s hair, we talked about “how money didn’t grow on trees” and why I had to earn my own for special things I wanted.
• As we folded clothes, we traded thoughts about how best to attack a demanding English assignment–– or to deal with the gossip of the girl down the street.
• When we walked the streets in search of size 5AA school shoes, we talked of essential qualities in a boyfriend or husband.
It was our chatter, scattered here and there in the gaps of day-to-day living that filled my life with great treasure. I guess you can say I feel “love stamped.”
I’m grateful to you for my own capacity to feel and receive love. With every word, touch, and action through all the routine chores of mothering, you set the pattern for unconditional love—concern, care, comfort, and compassion.
In turn, you know how to accept love. It came to you in the form of bouquets of wild flowers, burned toast “just the way you liked it” on Mother’s Day, cozy hugs when you had the flu, and cheap perfume from my teenager’s earnings.
As I look around my adult world, I see many men and women who have grown up without this emotional foundation and, therefore, have continuing difficulties with relationships of all kinds. The love you gave to me and still give enables me in turn to love my family, friends, . . . and my world.
That’s not to say things have always been perfect between us. After all, even great mothers like you do have feelings!
I’ve never felt so ashamed and irritated with myself as when I’ve said something insensitive that hurts your feelings. The look of both patience and humility on your face seeps from the deepest crevice in your heart. That expression of pain at once slices me with both regret and resolve to do better. Few offenses are more despicable than to wound a mother’s heart—yours particularly. I still regret those times when I’ve done so.
Fortunately, you have always forgiven me. From the time I was six and lied about spending my milk money for ice cream until now.
I don’t know when the concept of forgiveness and God seeped into my consciousness––possibly along with the fact that water tasted good on a hot summer day and that the sun rose each morning. I don’t remember when I did not know of God’s existence. But it was you who made faith personal. In short, you took God from a religious theory to a relationship right before my eyes.
As an author, I’ve read hundreds of books for pleasure and researched thousands of books for information. But you were the first book I read as a child, and I’ve checked you out of the library of my mind ever so many times during the intervening years of adulthood.
What a story you’ve created with your life! As Mother’s Day approaches, once again I want to communicate my gratitude and love.
Dianna Booher, an expert in executive communications, is the author of 46 books, published in 26 countries and 20 languages. Her latest books include Creating Personal Presence: Look, Talk, Think, and Act Like a Leader and Communicate with Confidence, Revised Edition. As CEO of Booher Consultants and as a high-caliber keynote speaker, Dianna and her staff travel worldwide to deliver focused speeches and training programs to address specific communication challenges and increase effectiveness in oral, written, interpersonal, and organizational communication. www.booher.com
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- Handling Mother’s Day Challenges (bostonmamas.com)