Thursday, July 7, 2011

Ode to my Mother

Today is my mom's birthday and I have been meaning to blog about some thoughts about my hands and I thought today would be a perfect day! Are you thinking - hands?

Yes, hands!
Photos by a 2 year old.
In the spring, I took a quick trip to Arizona. When I was there I was able to spend an evening with my grandfather, two uncles, new aunt and cousins. I loved it! At one point one of my uncles smiled at me and said, "you have your mom's hands". I was surprised and wasn't sure what the socially acceptable response was but luckily the moment passed. But I have thought about that quick comment and have looked at my hands differently. And have thought about how lucky I am that I have hands like my mom.

My mom raised 6 amazing kids. All college educated, contributing members of community and church. They are fun to be around and I consider them to be some of my favorite people. If asked who I would like to travel with, it would be hands down, my family!

My mom has done so much good in our home - laundry, cleaning, loaves and loaves of bread. Diapers, wet beds, baths. Miles and miles of driving, school meetings, church meetings.

She was very involved in our school assignments, extra curricular events, church activities and all this times 6!
She has taken classes herself, has mastered the computer and uses her college education in many ways.

She is a faithful wife, loyal friend and loving grandmother.

Being a mom, I have an inside view (sort of) of how she used her hands all those years (baths, bread, tears, diapers) I have gained an immense appreciation for what she has done. I find that more and more I am as they say, "becoming my mother" and I like it!

 I am trying to raise my children like she did her children, I am spending my free time like she did (sewing, creating), I even bake bread like she did. It is nice and as I do these things like my mother, I love and respect her even more.

Recently a friend shared this poem. It was perfect for my mom's birthday. And while I have never given my mom a layard, I have tried over the years to give her good gifts. I am realizing that the best gift I can give her is to find the magic in being a mom and in the great God-given gift of being a family.

Here is the poem: (best to be read aloud - it is touching and funny all at once)

The Lanyard - Billy Collins

The other day I was ricocheting slowly
off the blue walls of this room,
moving as if underwater from typewriter to piano,
from bookshelf to an envelope lying on the floor,
when I found myself in the L section of the dictionary
where my eyes fell upon the word lanyard.

No cookie nibbled by a French novelist
could send one into the past more suddenly—
a past where I sat at a workbench at a camp
by a deep Adirondack lake
learning how to braid long thin plastic strips
into a lanyard, a gift for my mother.

I had never seen anyone use a lanyard
or wear one, if that’s what you did with them,
but that did not keep me from crossing
strand over strand again and again
until I had made a boxy
red and white lanyard for my mother.

She gave me life and milk from her breasts,
and I gave her a lanyard.
She nursed me in many a sick room,
lifted spoons of medicine to my lips,
laid cold face-cloths on my forehead,
and then led me out into the airy light

and taught me to walk and swim,
and I, in turn, presented her with a lanyard.
Here are thousands of meals, she said,
and here is clothing and a good education.
And here is your lanyard, I replied,
which I made with a little help from a counselor.

Here is a breathing body and a beating heart,
strong legs, bones and teeth,
and two clear eyes to read the world, she whispered,
and here, I said, is the lanyard I made at camp.
And here, I wish to say to her now,
is a smaller gift—not the worn truth

that you can never repay your mother,
but the rueful admission that when she took
the two-tone lanyard from my hand,
I was as sure as a boy could be
that this useless, worthless thing I wove
out of boredom would be enough to make us even.

Included in the book The Trouble with Poetry.
Happy Birthday MOM! I'm glad to have your hands.

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