Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Writing About Our Mothers


Mother's Day is Sunday. Have you ever written about your mother? I have done so many, many times. Several of my stories in Chicken Soup books revolve around her. And, of course, the family stories I've written and kept in a binder feature her myriad times. 

Who has more influence on us than our mothers. Oh sure, dads do, too, but maybe moms wield just a tiny bit more. She who carried us close to her heart for probably nine months, then cared for us as infants, moved us in the right direction time and again, scolded and punished when she thought it would teach us something, praised and lauded when we earned it. 

All mothers are alike. All mothers are different. Conflicting statements? Yes, they are, but both are true. Some mothers show their love constantly while others may love deeply but not voice it often. Some mothers seldom punish or scold while others seem to do so on a daily basis. Some are great cooks. Some are not. Whatever your mother is, she is your mother. 

Why not celebrate this Mother's Day by writing something about her, or perhaps something for her. Let her know what it is you appreciate about her or the depth of your love. Perhaps you have great admiration for what she has done over the years.

Conversely, if you and your mother did not have a very good relationship, write about that. You don't ever have to show it to her, or to anyone else. It might help you see the how and why and may help to release long-held thoughts.

One of the Chicken Soup stories about my mom is one written after her death. It was based on a very simple experience which became something many who had lost mothers could relate to. Mother's Day can be a hard day for those whose mothers are no longer with them Here's the story published in a Mother's themed book by Chicken Soup for the Soul a few years ago.

With Us In Spirit
By Nancy Julien Kopp

I stopped at a Hallmark shop the other day to buy Mother’s Day cards for my daughter and daughter-in-law. The aisle where the cards for this special day rested was a long one. There were Mother’s Day cards appropriate to send to everyone from your cleaning lady to your best friend. The colors were soft and spring-like, fitting for the month of May. I moved up and down the aisle looking for cards that worked for Karen and Amy, and suddenly without any warning, an ache started deep inside. It swelled and moved upward, hit my heart and pushed a tear from my eye.

The one card I really wanted to buy was one for my own mother, but she passed away more than two years ago. I could buy the card, write a special note, sign it with love, then seal and stamp it. But where would I send it? Heaven has no post office. A curtain of sadness dropped down and covered me like a shroud for a moment or two. My hand reached out to a card that I knew she’d love. It was lavender and purple, her favorite colors. I read the verse and smiled. This was the one I’d buy her if I could only send it to her. I slipped it back in the rack, picked it up and read it again, then replaced it.

I’m a mother and a grandmother of four, but I still miss my mom. I miss our long talks. She had little formal education, but she possessed a marvelous instinct and insight into human behavior. I learned so much listening to her observations. I miss the stories she told about her childhood in a coal mining town. She made me appreciate the differences in people’s lives. I miss the wonderful pies and cakes she made. I miss her terrific sense of humor and hearty laughter. I miss her hugs.

But as I look around my home, I see her in many places. I see her warm smile in photos carefully arranged in several different rooms. I see her every time I sift through my recipe box and finger the many cards with her handwriting, all so precious now.  I see her when I use my rolling pin, once hers, now mine. Whenever I use it, I’m reminded of the day she taught me how to put just the right pressure on a pie crust with the heavy wooden rolling pin. I see her when I show visitors to our guest room, for the bed is covered with a quilt she made by hand.

On Mother’s Day I will be with my daughter and her family at a Mother’s Day Brunch. To spend the day with a child I love and her husband and children will give me great pleasure. It wouldn’t surprise me if we sense another presence that day, for my mother will be with us in spirit, spreading her love once more.

© 2007

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