It has been a long, long time since I lived close to my mother, but up until the year she passed, I tried my best to talk with her on Skype every day. It was important to her. When we talked, she would always tell me which of my sisters and brothers had also called. I guess it would have been even more important on Mothers Day.
I lived the furthest away of all my siblings.
I knew how important family is to her but she didn’t complain to me or plead with me to live closer. When she had a stroke that would put her in 24-hour nursing care, she had something she wanted to ask me. It took her a long time to say it. It was: “Why do you live so far away?” My Mom lived in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. And I live in San Clemente, California. That according to Siri that distance is 1,400 miles as the crow flies.
It is a deep question and deserves far more than I gave it at the time.
I answered, ” You know Mom. My ministry is there. I am living the life I have been called to. I am making a difference in people’s lives.”
Today I miss my mother.
Mothers Day was started in 1908 by Anna Jarvis in memory of her mother who had died two years earlier. Her vision was to honor mothers by having children to attend church with their mothers, express their gratitude and gather together as a family. It became a national holiday by 1914. Naturally, the greeting card companies and florists saw an opportunity. Jarvis detested the commercialization of Mothers Day and attempted to get the whole holiday canceled.
I miss my mother. Mothers’ Day is an odd holiday for those of us whose mothers have passed. How interesting that it was started by a woman who had also lost her mother.
So what I really want to say is that Lela Clark taught me to do my best. She taught me that I could do anything I put my mind to. She taught me that you should never ask for what you want if it is going to cause someone else pain.
I do not know if I would have answered her question differently if she had asked it years earlier.
But as I join all the men and women who are paying tribute to their mothers this weekend, to pay homage and great gratitude to my mother, I do so with a beginner’s mind and great respect and love.
Seeing through the eyes of love, I learned to see my mother as beautiful just the way she was and just the way she was not.
Have a blessed Mothers Day to all the men and women who have taught us how to love and nurture.