Thursday, May 6, 2010

May Begins!

And so it’s May already!

Time flies past a writer as they stop to smell the flowers, feel the rain and forget about turning calendar pages. All of a sudden it’s May and Mother’s Day is across the hall waiting for me to open the door. I try to ignore its knocking and hope this year it will just quietly go away.

But it won’t. And I’ll do what I ought, dutifully, some; and joyfully, some; and sadly, some.

It’s not that I don’t like to give gifts and be kind to my mother, don’t misunderstand me. My mom is one of those sweet sorts of people who are always amazed by the smallest gifts. I think it’s from her that I got the ability to appreciate the gesture beneath the gift. For many years I’ve made a point of bringing her flowers for Mother’s Day. She likes the flowers. I like the giving. We both smile and are glad for the smallest moment shared.

There are other “mother/friends” in my life, too. Those are harder to give gifts to. Mostly because they are far away. Their handprints are all over my life, though, and I try to live in such a way that they are clearly seen. My ability to love, be compassionate, to yearn for education, to encourage: those are learned traits from my many “mother/friends.”

As a mother, I play another role on Mother’s Day. I am the receiver. My sons probably don’t know that I have kept every card they ever gave me. Sometimes I take them out to see their little boy handwriting again, to rest in the memories of their need and admiration. I have their gifts, too. The little bell with the flower on it – glued together after a fall. The ceramic elephant gracefully proclaiming love. The pictures they painted and photographed. I watch their growth along this trinket road.

I’m so proud of my boys. They are good, strong young men. They stand tall, do right and have so much solid character. I revel in their accomplishments vicariously experiencing life through them. I love their gifts, but I long for more of their time.

I’m sad that I don’t get to enjoy them more. I sowed a lot of my life into theirs. I don’t regret any of that – any of the baseball games and music practices and late nights waiting up. I enjoyed most of it for my own selfish reasons. I wish that now I could enjoy the finished product more.

I watch my “other kids” the same way. The bus kids and church kids and neighborhood kids who have left behind the hurts of their childhood and found Someone who loves them unconditionally. From a distance, I watch for their pictures and thank God for sharing their lives with mine. Those are precious gifts received.

Mother’s Day and May, mostly, remind me of my Grandma. Mae was her name, for one and she loved spring. She loved flowers – lilacs and lily-of-the-valley and roses. Strong, fragrant, beautiful, strong blossoms that started to show themselves quietly in May.

I don’t know that it was her favorite time of year or her favorite month. It’s hard to say because she loved life and holidays and people so much it was hard to tell when was her favorite, or who.

I miss the smell of fresh baked bread in the morning and chicken dumpling soup in the afternoon. I miss the sound of the song she wrote and played on the organ – Redbird, I think she called it. I would know the tune if I heard it again, but I won’t. No one ever learned to play it except her. It was Grandma’s song only. I miss the sound of her voice on the phone or with Irene. The gentle play of words, the laugh at the end of a sentence. Or if something was really funny, the deep rich sound of her laughter. I miss her beautiful hands. Gentle and strong so lined with life and with care. Those hands that wrote the recipes and brushed my hair and mended my clothes and comforted my broken spirit. I miss those hands. I miss that touch.

I remember sitting before her once watching tv. I was on the floor in front of the couch and she was behind me. My head was just above the arm of the couch and she gently pulled my hair up and brushed it while we watched a movie. Such a personal caress. “You have such beautiful hair, Krissy, beautiful blonde soft hair.”

I can’t help but think, also, of my friends who are not mothers. Whose arms are empty and hearts are full of sadness. I feel like a glutton in the lavishness of my children and grandchildren, as though I have hoarded a treasure. My heart hurts for them and I try to share, but fear my sharing is mistaken for bragging. I pray they see the plan of Someone who knows their days.

Writers, remember, see the world through a different lens of experience. We keep those things we feel close to our heart until they won’t be still any longer. Then those words fall out all over the paper. We hope someone reads them and nods in complicity. We hope that they will bring a new level of understanding. We hope they are not abused.

Like a mixed spring bouquet, a plethora of thoughts and emotions bunch together in my hands today.


  1. Happy Mother's Day Kris..... I pictured all that you wrote; I can almost see your grandmother...she reminds me of my grandmother, the sound of her voice, she loved to whistle any tune and she would whistle whether working on the farm or simply sitting out on the porch looking up the dirt lane seldom traveled... and of my mother... thank you for sharing your beautiful memories of mother, grandmother, friends and acquaintances and how at the core of each person if they really search they would find memories of their Mother's voice, touch and love.

  2. Happy Mother's Day Mommy! I envy Mel her status as your one "real" daughter, but always remember I was the first daughter who chose you. :) I am so honored to have you in my life. I am so glad you are closer and I can drive and hour and see you, even if only for an hour. Soon my children will know who their Bopka is, and they will learn to love you like I do. I'm so happy for that. You are an amazing surprise to my life, and I thank God for every moment you have been part of it. Thank you so much for sharing yourself with me. I love you so much. Happy Mother's Day.

  3. All I can say to this is AMEN. I know I have my "Mother's" eyes and heart! I love you so much.