Sunday, May 10, 2015

Reflections on Mothers Day - what makes a mother?

Reflections on Mothers Day

What makes a mother?   Are we mothers by virtue of becoming pregnant and then giving birth?  Or does motherhood really start after our physical bodies have taken care of all the biology?  After all, it’s not like we have much to do with creation itself, other than the obvious, of course. After all, nature is pretty much in charge. Yes, we have to get through the morning sickness, feeling bloated and the pain of delivery, but what really makes a mother? 

I had an interesting conversation with my mother today and it made me reflect on this very question. My mom is almost 89 years old and while she is in generally good health, her memory has been failing and she needs 24 hour care because she suffered a fall a few years ago that required hospitalization. However, what is quite remarkable is that whenever I have spoken to my mother in the last several years, she has always described herself as being content. Given that I would never have described my mother as being “content” during the first 8 decades of her life, you can see how this might have made me take notice.

Somehow, my mother has been able to find a way to be at peace with not only her life but also with her own mortality. What is even more remarkable is that my mother has become incredibly pleasant – again, probably not an adjective that I would have used to describe my mom in the past.  Artistically gifted, intelligent, persevering, anxious, talented – for sure, pleasant…not so much. Whether it is my mothers memory limits or her emerging maturity, I don’t really know, but what matters is that she found a way to age with grace. I think that we all hope to find this kind of peace in our lives, and I am grateful that my mother was able to experience this – at least until very recently.