By Glenda | May 9, 2010

On this day set aside to honor mothers, I want to add my gratitude and congratulations to all those who Mother the world…not only their biological children.  Mothering is an incredible skill, one that requires, I think, every positive attribute one can dream up:  not only creativity, but also patience, foresight, courage, stamina, a willingness to sacrifice, a grasshopper mind, a sense of perspective, humility, spontaneity, the ability to set limits, a limitless love, a sense of humor, and on and on.  Bringing those qualities to bear anywhere, everywhere–that is mothering, in whatever form.  Whether one is a teacher, a man, an executive, a gardener… I honor that mothering.  As gender roles have changed, children are nurtured by many people, a whole village, sometimes.  It is the Mothering Spirit in anyone that I honor, as well as those individuals who have the special privilege of carrying Life in their own bodies and delivering a new generation to our world–biological mothers do have a unique place of honor.

And as far as biological mothers go, I think there should be a special new category to be honored:  Mother-Daughters.  I mean those who are not only mothers to young children, but also are caregivers for their elderly parents.  These middle-person mothers are pulled in both directions, and often get pulled in all directions, leaving little chance to “be my own person,” to do anything other than mothering.  But they, with great courage and difficulty and often with pain, carry on, honoring the saying from Ghana that “if your parents take care of you up to the time you cut your teeth, you take care of them when they lose theirs.”

And it’s tricky with  elders: we elders can be as unruly and difficult and moody and demanding as children, but we often won’t be bossed around or accept rules or direction from our own “children.”   Elders want and need “mothering,” even are resentful if they don’t get it sufficiently.  But their self esteem is at risk and any helpful adult child must be careful not to injure the pride of a parent or to be thought of as condescending. I remember my mother, when she was in her late seventies,after I had told her what she needed to eat to stay well; she looked up at me with an odd glance and said, “I don’t know how I managed to live this long without your instructing me, let alone how I ever kept you alive all those years.”  That gave me pause, and it comes back to me year after year, especially as I am now in my seventies.

So my special recognition today to all those Mother-Daughters in the middle.  It’s not easy finding the balance between being wife, mother, daughter, and otherwise person.

And my love and tenderness to those who wanted to be biological mothers and could not, and to all of us whose biological mothers have crossed over and are no longer here to receive, on this plane, our hugs and flowers and gratitude.  I believe we can still send that love and gratitude out to the world, where all the motherless children and daughter-less elderly will receive it somehow.

Here are a few words from the wise ones of many traditions concerning the Mothering Spirit herself:

“As truly as God is our Father, so truly is God our Mother…to the property of Motherhood belong nature, love, wisdom and knowledge, and this is God.”  Julian of Norwich

“Paradise is at the foot of the Mothers.” Hadith

“LiKe a Mother who protects her child, her only child, with her own life, one should cultivate a heart of unlimited love and compassion towards all living beings.”  The Buddha

“The Valley Spirit never dies; it is the woman, primal mother.  Her gateway is the root of heaven and earth.  It is like a veil barely seen.  Use it; it will never fail.” Lao Tzu

“She is the inmost awareness of the sage who realizes that Consciousness alone exists.  She is the life blossoming within the creatures of the universe, both macrocosm and microcosm are lost within Mother’s Womb.  When anyone attempts to know Her, the singer of this song laughs.  Can you swim across a shoreless ocean?  Yet the child in me still reaches out to touch the moon.” Ramprasad

“One vision I see clear as life before me, that the ancient Mother has awakened once more, sitting on her throne rejuvenated, more glorious than ever.  Proclaim Her to all the world with a voice of Peace and Benediction.” Vivekenanda

One comment | Add One

  1. LBear - 05/9/2010 at 4:36 pm

    thank you dear “Grandmother” – your light always warms me but this really touched my ‘mother-heart’. i have definitely been pulled in the recent past few yrs ~ pulled to mothering my son, my grandkids, and my mama.
    all the ‘elder behavior’ you mention is so funny now that it is over for mom; and so true. we are now at a place in my son and g’kids lives where i can relax (just a little of course) for a minute.
    i can only hope that i manage at least a tidbit of the graciousness you describe …God knows it was & is – mistakes and misteps too – done with love.
    to you Glenda Little Hawk, wise and generous beyond knowing: happy mother’s day. i love you. LindiWillowBear

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