In my quest to become more domestic (more on this soon), I’ve been scouring “Ladies Home Journal” and “Women’s Day.” In one of these magazines (or perhaps it was “Real Simple”), I read about one mother’s approach to Mother’s Day, and though she was pretty vague on the details, the bottom line was this: she asked each of her 9 (or 12 or 15) kids to write (or draw) a message to her. The confusing part of the article was that sometimes the messages related to Mother’s Day and some to her birthday, but never mind. Nothing about motherhood is perfect.
The rationale was that the mom wanted to help her kids express themselves honestly, and she wanted to have expressions that she could collect in what she called “the Mom Book,” an authentic reflection of where they all were at different times in their lives. It was sweet.
For myself, I despise Mother’s Day cards. They never quite seem to fit. And for the past few years, they’ve reminded me of a story one of my closest friends told me, after she sent her husband out to buy a card for her mom for Mother’s Day (that very fact gives you some insight into the problematic nature of her relationship with her mother).
He came home with three cards: “One if you want to lie, one if you want to be passive-aggressive, and one if you want to tell the truth.” Mother’s Day cards are complicated because the mother-child relationship is complicated. I’m all for anything that can help simplify and enrich what is, let’s face it, the most important relationship of one’s life.
So this year, I adapted something from the article that I read. I asked each boy who could read and write to share with me three things that they appreciated about me as their mother; AND a few things that they would like to be different. The boys didn’t disappoint.
All of what they shared made me laugh really hard, and also realize that they understand much more than I assume they do. Noah’s 3-page letter was smart and hysterical, and while I won’t share the things he appreciates about me, he did suggest that I not “act all snippy and pissy when you and Papa are fighting.”
Jacob’s letter included this: “Believe me when I say I know what I’m doing. There are many decisions I can make on my own only, and I’m willing to do that.”
I think I might have heard my heart breaking when I read that.
But the thing is that these guys know and understand, and have earned the right to express what they honestly feel and believe. They need to understand, honor and appreciate, that is absolutely true. I am committed to teaching them that. I am also committed to teaching them that their wise, young voices matter.
On that note, I’d like to end this post with a lovely poem by a lovely young woman, Miss Bryana Davis of Urbana, IL. She shared this poem with me several weeks ago, and its wisdom and insights struck me as worth sharing. Definitely another wise young voice. (Okay, she’s Noah’s girlfriend, and we are all SO lucky!) This poem’s sentiments on beauty can extend to many, many “perfect” things that we all try to pursue, but the real stuff, the stuff that matters, is already right there next to us, only as far away as a glance out of the window. Thanks, Ms. Bre! You’re the best!
Happy Mother’s Day to all!
What is Beauty?
a poem by Bryana Davis
What is beauty?
Is it the sun shining through my window?
Or is it the girl starving herself to look
like models on shows?
What is beauty?
Is it Beethoven’s melodies floating in the air?
Or is it cutting, crimping, drying our hair?
What is beauty?
Is it the ocean at midnight, flat and still?
Or can you buy it while hiking up your credit
Can you feel it? Can you taste it?
Is it near? Or is it far?
Do we know it at all?
Is it old? Or is it new?
Is it me? Or is it you?