Making Ordinary Meaningful
With Mother's Day coming up in just a few more days I've been thinking about what it means to be a mom. My own experiences with motherhood along with my relationship and memories with my mom led me to this basic, but impactful truth; being a mother is making ordinary (life) meaningful. My mom did that for me. She cooked, cleaned, worked inside the home, outside the home, and slept, until we were teens that is, and then repeated it all over again the next day. And, although all those mundane tasks were and still are necessary, it was in between those ordinary duties, where life happened and became meaningful to us children. My mom and I are different people. We do just as many things similar, as we do differently and yet, it's what we learn from each other that counts, and makes a good mom, great.
Some of the similarities my mom and I share are obvious. We both talk loud. She's louder, however, I can hold my own within my own walls at home. Over the years her voice has brought necessary discipline but also wisdom and grace at unexpected times. And some of the most ordinary conversations we've had have become the most meaningful ones.
Another trait we share is having introverted tendencies. She used to hide in her basement as a young mom, when my sister was a baby, to avoid the social neighbor who wanted to sit in her kitchen and chat every morning with coffee and, I have been known to disappear, in my basement or other parts of my home, when trying to avoid people who I struggle speaking with. I know. I'm not proud of it. It's not you, it's me or rather us!
My mom and I also share an affinity for nicely shaped eyebrows! Learning to pluck my eyebrows and set a proper dinner table were the two most special and fun things my mom every taught me! Except for when either one of those things were done wrong! You have to have both a water and wine glass, regardless if anyone is having either and you can't expect to go to school with half an eyebrow and not have kids notice! Ugh.
We are both caretakers. And, once we love you, we will always love you. We take pride in helping others, loving with everything we have and sharing our hearts. We will give you the shirts of our backs, literally!
A less obvious similarity we share is our family dynamic. She had five children. I had five children. Her brother and oldest son passed away and so did mine. It's interesting how that all played out. Death is ordinary, yes, but having my mom understand exactly how I felt made the experience easier, making the ordinary meaningful.
My mom is way more put together than I am. The hair, nails, makeup, clothes. She'll show up to a Little League ball game in a leopard top and shoes laced with an armful of jewelry. She takes pride in everything she does, even down to the fine details of matching her purse to her shoes. Me, not so much. I rarely file my nails, let alone paint them. My makeup process takes about 5 minutes because that's as much time and effort I'm willing to put in! She wears bold patterns and colors and I prefer monochromatic dressing, with my staple colors of white, black and navy. Watching her love fashion, helped me embrace my own, making the ordinary meaningful.
My mother is daring. She has had her hair,every color and every style! Auburn, black, blue black, platinum, light brown, frosted and her most current gray, which I love! I'm fairly conservative with my own hair! It has always been brown and always will be, with the exception of the gray highlights that peek in between coloring it, of course.
She is also brave. She is not afraid to stand up for herself and speak out against anyone or anything that promotes unfairness or injustice. I'm not nearly as courageous. I prefer to blend in and take a more subtle approach. She reacts first and thinks later. And although my tendencies lean in that direction, I try to give myself a minute to break down the situation or dial up my sister or friends to hash things out before reacting. She wears the skirts and the pants. Me, not so much. I wear a skort!
She's an incredible artist and painter. Paint scares me. She likes colors, while I prefer neutrals. She hates flying and I love flying! I'm 47 years old and she's 79 years young.
Ordinary, but Extraordinary
We are both ordinary women, ordinary moms. However, our differences and similarities as women are what makes these experiences and memories extraordinary. I am grateful that my mom is still alive and well. I know what a privilege it is to be able to say that. I pray that on this Mother's Day, even if your mom is not here, you will take the time to reflect and rejoice on how she made the ordinary meaningful in your life.