Mother’s Day Meanderings


Mother's Day Bouquet

Yesterday the doorbell rang, but since I wasn’t expecting anyone I didn’t hurry to answer it. But my hubby did and he returned with the loveliest floral arrangement for me.  I glanced his way; he shook his head.

Then I remembered that Mother’s Day would be the next day. And I knew who sent them—my oldest son who lives in Alaska.

My mind flooded after that of memories of mothering him and my other sons. Each one of them was so different—even from the moment they were born. In fact each labor was different—but I promise, this is not a “oh, what a labor I had…” blog.

As I thought of the highlights and the difficult moments in mothering each of my children, I wondered as I often have in the past months if I could have done the job better. Had I been that mother that’s been immortalized as the most wicked of mothers?  We’re my mistakes in mothering  (and I’ve made them) the impetus for each of my son’s choosing how they dealt with life and the decisions they have made in their lives?

Had my choices hurt them more than helped them? If so, I’m beyond sorry for that was never my intent.

However, after much thought, I determined—yet again—that I have always done the best I could with the knowledge and skills I had available to me at the time. I also gifted them with loving older women who nurtured them right along with me, my grandmother Grace Dieter, my mother Jane, my sisters Shelley and Mary—even though these last two were more like older sisters to my sons, they mothered them and nurtured them.

That’s all any mother can do.

But then I wondered as I sat in church last evening: did my mother and her mother wonder if they had done a good job in mothering their children? Was this second guessing on a job mostly completed only something I do or did they also do this?  I don’t know the answer, but I suspect they didn’t. Why? Because they lived in a different time and mothering wasn’t challenged by theories from experts. And maybe they had more confidence in themselves. I don’t know because we never talked about such things and any such thoughts they might have entertained are now buried with them.

A Perfect Pink Rose

So today is Mother’s Day. I’m fortunate to be here. I promise myself I will continue to be the best mother I can be to my living sons and treasure always the memories of the two I’ve buried. I will honor those women in my life who taught me to love my children and be the best mother I could be by the example they set. I will support the new mothers and young mothers who now are busy raising my great nieces and nephews.

To all of you reading this who are mothers, Happy Mother’s Day. May all your mothering be the best it can be at any given moment.

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14 Comments on “Mother’s Day Meanderings”

  1. virginia mccullough Says:

    Hi Mary Jo,
    Great post–the eternal questions. I’ve sometimes wondered if women like Mary or the Buddha’s mother second-guessed themselves as they went alone, as I’ve so often done for the last four decades. But, you’re right, our mothers and grandmothers (and I suspect those women of the ancient world) didn’t question so much!

    You were especially on my mind today.


  2. A beautiful post, Mary Jo. 🙂 You are an amazing person, and I have no doubt an exceptional mother. None of us are perfect; we simply do the best we can and hope our children make good choices for their own lives. I feel very lucky, honored, and blessed to know you!

    Virginia, if you’re reading this, the same goes for you! Looking forward to Thursday. 🙂

  3. Edie Ramer Says:

    MJ, if I could do it all over, I would be a better mom. OTOH, my son turned out very well, so in spite of our many mistakes, we must have done something right.

    Happy Mother’s Day!

  4. Deb Maher Says:

    Beautiful flowers, and a nicely written post. I can’t imagine any of your sons doubting your mothering skills, MJ (except for maybe some minutes at age 2 or age 13 when, most likely, you didn’t cave in – 🙂 ). Happy Mother’s Day, my friend!

  5. Elle J Rossi Says:

    A day late, but Happy Mother’s Day! I also question my mothering skills. Quite often, to be honest. But in the end, I hope I am doing everything possible to insure they will be good, loving people with a sense of responsibility and honor.

  6. Anne Parent Says:

    You have brought up the subject on all good mothers’ minds this week. But, you are so right when you say you did the best you could within the circumstances at the time. That needs to be a reminder to all mothers that we did our jobs well because we care and question ourselves. Than you for the reminder. Happy belated Mother’s Day!

  7. caseyclifford Says:

    Virginia,

    You were on my mind yesterday also. Do you think women in earlier ages didn’t question their roles and their performance much because they had no time to question, didn’t live long enough, or didn’t have the superwoman expectations of mothering to live up to? Now, determining the answers to those questions and more…would take a book. 🙂

  8. caseyclifford Says:

    Donna,

    Thank you for the comment but if I am amazing it’s because I’ve been blessed with incredible women who mothered me well in all phases of my life. I only hope to do the same for others. I thought of you much yesterday. I honored my mom by washing a few windows as she had a thing about windows and would always get us kids to do them. 🙂

  9. caseyclifford Says:

    Edie,

    I’m sure you were the best mom you could be at the time. And congratulations that you have a son who’s eased well into his adult life. That’s always a blessing. 🙂

  10. caseyclifford Says:

    Elle,

    I imagine you are one of those mothers your kids friends love to be around–because you are so interesting and full of life. Now that’s special. Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  11. caseyclifford Says:

    Deb,

    Okay, I’m jealous!! Another grand trip, first at the shore and that beach house sounds fantastic and ending up in SF. Oh, the joy…can’t wait to see you in June and get all the highpoints. Loved the photos on FB.

  12. caseyclifford Says:

    Happy belated Mom’s Day to you, Anne. I hope your children treated you especially well yesterday. I’m also very glad you found a kernel of something to ponder in my post. You write such beautiful ones on Wednesdays.

  13. Kate Bowman Says:

    A belated Happy Mother’s Day, Mary Jo and all. I loved your post as I’ve pondered those very questions myself. Why are we mothers so hard on ourselves? We can’t control the universe our children inhabit, as much as we’d like to.

    I’d say the beautiful bouquet from your son is a testament to a great mother, sent with love. Enjoy it!
    Kate

  14. caseyclifford Says:

    Kate,

    Thanks for stopping in and you comments. Perhaps it is women like us who ponder my questions on mothering because we’re writers and wise? Oh, if only we could control the universe they inhabit…

    Ah no, that wouldn’t be good either. Their strength comes from dealing with adversity.


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