Sunday, May 13, 2007

Who is That Woman You Call Mom?

Who is That Woman You Call Mom?

  • What do you really know about your mother?
  • Was she private or did she share openly?
  • Would you like to know more? How might you go about learning who she really is or was?
If your mother is still living, the answer to the last question is easy—go ask her. Or maybe it's not so easy—maybe she is a bit aloof and it's difficult to get past the "Oh, it's so good to see you," or "What would you like to drink with your dinner?" Regardless of the ease you may have in your relationship with your mother, I'm guessing there is always more to learn. If she's still living, don't miss a beat—go ask a new question every day. You may discover something new. You may be surprised that with a little water and curiosity, she will open up like a spring flower. If she's not still living, I dare say it's not too late, just a bit more difficult.
  • Make a date to visit your Mom—at a coffee shop or a quiet special place to ponder.
  • Take a notebook or a recorder and catch every word. At least listen carefully. Even if communing spiritually, I believe one can get answers. I can't say how they come, but I do believe that they come.
  • Don't presume to know what she's going to say. Allow her spirit to bloom.

The shortest distance between two people is a story.

—Unknown author



She Was More Than I Ever Knew

by Lissa Ann Forbes

Not only did my mother not share her feelings readily, but I was guilty of being self-absorbed—maybe for most of my 41 years we had together. My mother has been gone for almost 11 years now and I seem to miss her and appreciate her more each year. I miss that I didn't spend time being more attentive to who she was, learning how she ticked, rather than being reactive and wanting her to understand me.

In the last six months I have learned a new technology --creating DVD photo montages (a fancy slide show). I acquired some photographs from my brother that I had never seen before in my almost 52 years. As I put together this project I saw a woman I had not known.

She was young once. Why is it difficult to see our parents as children? As someone who had to learn all the things we have had to learn: walk, talk, dress ourselves, function in the world of work, handle finances, and parent our own children.

What I saw in those old pictures was a young woman (there were no pictures of her before the age of 17 or 18) who had fun traveling, square dancing, holding her first baby. I saw a light in those pictures of her that was different than the woman I remember growing up with. It's not that my mom didn't have fun during my growing up years, but as her daughter, I saw her as a guide, a disciplinarian, a teacher, a woman who wanted her daughter to have opportunities she didn't have.

During my lifetime, I never saw her as a carefree young girl who played with dolls, or colored in coloring books, or swung on a swing hoping to touch the sky. But there was something, something intangible in the photographs of her as a young adult that sparkled. Maybe it was the young love she had for my father. Maybe it was an innocence.

What I hope to convey here is that it is never too late to learn something about our mothers and be grateful for who they are or were and what they brought to our lives.

My mother gave me opportunities to play with my creativity. She taught me to sew and cook and host parties. She was there to support my efforts in school plays, swim meets, choral recitals, and dance showcases.

We did not have the perfect mother-daughter relationship. In fact, it was fraught with challenges, but as I get older and learn more about me from my own children, I am learning how much she really gave me. I am more grateful now than I ever was while she was living, and realize she was more than I ever knew.

Don't miss your chance. I hope you've had a chance to spend at least a bit of time with your mother for Mother's Day—in person or in spirit. Learn a bit about her that you never knew.


Off the Shelf
Reading Resource:

For One More Day
by Mitch Albom

Mitch Albom has a knack for bringing meaning to loss. In For One More Day he takes us through one more day that his character, Charley Benetto, would have liked to spend with his mother. Charley travels through "ordinary" experiences and along the way makes amends while learning a new appreciation for the special woman she was.

I found I wanted to not only drink in the printed words in this book, but the meaning I found between the lines. The meaning of rethinking how I wished I had done things differently with my mother. It made me ponder, do we really ever know another? Are we ever really capable of doing it differently? What I do know is they play a special role in our lives.

To view the DVD montage featuring my mother, A Woman of Substance, go to

From Write from the Inside: The Ezine, Issue #58, ISSN 1937-2574