When I think of my mother, I feel tears well up behind my eyelids. My heart aches.
In August my mother will turn 96.
My mother has always been a beautiful woman. At 95 she still likes to dress up pretty, making sure her jewellry is just so. Recently she bought a big sparkly ring. I commented on its size and how it dwarfed my mothers fingers. My sister told me that mom bought it because it hides the ravages of arthritis on her fingers.
Arthritis has not been kind to my mother.
Her bones are fragile. Brittle. Her joints swollen and distended.
And still, my mother is kind. Gentle.
“If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all,” was one of my mother’s favourite adages.
She also told us to ‘broom the floor’ but that was her native French getting in the way of her English. We used to tease her about it all the time. I wish she could still broom the floor today. I wish she could walk and move with the grace of bones that do not hurt as she moves through the room.
My mother turns 96 in August. She doesn’t walk much anymore. A bad fall. Broken hip. Bones too brittle to hold the pin in place. A wheelchair is her mode of transport these days.
Yet still, her independent streak shines through. She doesn’t like being pushed. She always wants to use her feet to navigate her path.
Kindness has always been important to my mother.
It’s something we share, even though there have been times in my life when I have not been kind to my mother. Okay, maybe a big portion like all my teen years and even into my twenties.
I didn’t understand her and mostly didn’t take the time to get to know her.
I thought our differences kept us apart. Made us different. I was too busy. Too self-involved to step away from my position to find a common ground where we could see the things that bind us include our differences and our similarities.
My mother loves to cook. At least she did when she had a kitchen. Even now, when she goes to my sister’s house, she will help out in the kitchen. It’s something her three daughters share with her. A love of being in the kitchen.
My mother loved to sing. I remember her voice when I was a child. Sweet. Soothing. Comforting. I think I may have even confused her with an angel when I was a little girl.
It is something she’s passed on to me and to my eldest daughter. I love to sing though my daughters will suggest I tone it down, or maybe consider doing it alone. Alexis, my eldest daughter, got my mother’s voice. Alexis reminds me of an angel when she sings too.
My mother was very proud of the work she did. Especially her volunteering. A lifelong member of the Catholic Women’s League, she did things for others, quietly, unassumingly. She never wanted thanks. She just wanted to make a difference, in her quiet way, in someone else’s life.
It’s something she’s taught me. It’s not about doing ‘the big things’. It’s about doing all things with grace, love, care.
My mother turns 96 this August.
Her hands are ravaged by arthritis. Her body riddled with pain, the arthritis searing her joints with its incessant clawing away at the bone.
And still, my mother is kind, gentle, caring.
And still, she loves.
And still, she loves.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the women out there. May kindness light your path. My love fill your heart.