What can I, a mother and grandmother, do on Mother’s Day, that would be a gift to myself? Answer: take a nap. It’s an old family tradition, one my own mother taught me.
While raising and being the only provider for her three children, my mother would sometimes walk into our living room and “collapse”—her word. She would lie on our dark green sofa and instantly fall asleep. If I walked away and came back later, I often saw her struggling to awaken, to get back up and do what she needed to do. I began to understand in my kid-way, that she longed to have a reason to JUST RELAX, to LIE THERE AND DO NOTHING.
A MOTHER’S DAY GIFT FOR ME
Even today, with my children grown, I have to convince myself it’s fine to take a nap, to let other things circulating in my brain simply—go away. And I don’t trick myself into saying I’ll read or meditate. No. I want to fall asleep. All mothers deserve time out, time set aside for their own thoughts, dreams and “collapsed” sleep.
Of course, some of you might want a massage or a manicure. My mom did her own nails, had lovely hands, and even as they aged, her hands became two beautiful symbols of all she did to raise, nurture and love her three children. Hers were hands that soothed us when we were sick, clapped at every piano recital, Scout event or baseball game we participated in and lay gently on our shoulders to encourage a developing skill, to let us know that we were everything to her.
FROM MOTHER TO DAUGHTER
On this Mother’s Day I am blessed, for like my Mom, I have also been gifted with three children. I kept a baby book for each of them, recorded birth weights and size, taped in their footprint sheets, recorded their growth charts, new teeth and first words. Illnesses, birthdays, funny and amazing proclamations–all got recorded.
And even better, each of our three children is wildly different, making our parenting roles more exciting and challenging.
HOW DID OUR THREE TURN OUT?
They are loving, thoughtful and amazing. When my husband and I hurt, they are there for us. When we cry, they cry; when we laugh, they laugh. They can get wild and crazy, are always creative, curious and interesting–and all have found amazing life-partners. They love adventure and yet can sit with us on a cold winter night or a warm summer evening just talking–sharing ideas on music, books, film, politics. They all have ideas and beliefs. They all have opinions. It’s wonderful to bask in their knowledge and eagerness.
A LITTLE DOWN TIME, PLEASE
As we mothers click off the years, the Mother’s Days–we collect more cards, candles, bottles of perfume, beloved books and always hugs and kisses. But concurrently, our hands begin to reveal the hours of hugging and soothing a sick child, diapering and dressing, cooking, driving, encouraging and of course clapping when a child succeeds. My hands, your mothering hands, whether still smooth and soft or lined with age spots and ropey veins are our particular symbols of giving, nurturing and raising a child. Maybe on this Mother’s Day give them a rest! Let someone else make the meal, drive the car while you take a nap! We mothers, grandmother’s and caregivers certainly have earned it.
P.S. The scene below is taken from my story FRAGILE, which appears in A MOTHER’S TIME CAPSULE:
When she tucks her children in bed that night, they are exuberant. As she goes down the stairs to be with Adam, they call over and over the words: “Love ya, see ya in the morning, good night. Love ya, see ya in the morning, good night. Love ya…”
Tess stops. She listens, the words falling on her with their weight of wonder. And welcoming all of it, she holds them, keeps them like a charm her children have hung gently around her neck.
above photo credit: Ed Yourdon