My mother will have been gone nearly twenty years come this Mother’s Day. I can tell you that she loved her family unconditionally, and me most of all, I think.
Come Mother’s Day I will think about my mother’s generous spirit. I will recall her stubbornness. I will remember that my mother was highly principled. I will recall that my mother also could hold grudges; she did not quickly or easily forgive perceived transgressions by others. When I look at Lola, I feel my mother’s great fondness for all creatures great and small. I will remember how my mother could be judgmental, especially when it came to criticism of my older sister. At the same time, my mother was not a petty individual. I know that my mother always wanted what was the best for everybody.
I also know that pieces of my mother reside in me. So, on Mother’s Day, I will let my memories of her wash over me. I will not think about her human failings. I will waste no effort fathoming her quirks and contradictions. For me it remains a very simple calculus: She was my mother.
Robyn is the mother of three children. I carefully listen while she describes what it was like for her, as a young mother, to bear the sole responsibility to provide for, guide, and nurture three small children. I appreciate that she shares her deepest feelings with me concerning what she could have done better or differently. However, I also think she can be hard on herself.
I like that she shares her feelings about the hardships she overcame without a lick of support from anybody, the things she might have sacrificed along the way — education and career opportunities, surrendering the freedom to fully experience what life has to offer. For Robyn the day-to-day demands of motherhood continued unabated until her daughter’s daughter went off to college.
Robyn remains the lioness, even as her three children approach their middle age and her daughter’s child just recently celebrated her twenty-third birthday. Robyn is still fierce and capable.
Lee and I did not have any children. When I met Lee, we were both experienced adults. Unlike previous wives, Lee never said she wanted to have kids. By her omission I assumed she was not interested.
However, I did not ask her. This is one mistake that I can never correct. (Less importantly, I also do not know whether Lee had wanted children before we met.)
In any case, long before we were married, Lee suffered from a painful condition known as endometriosis. Today I wonder whether it was a precursor of what lay ahead for her. She eventually had a medical procedure that ended the pain. The procedure also left Lee unable to bear children in the future. If this bothered Lee, she never said a word to me.
After Lee got sick, I did my best to care for and comfort her. You see, even without children we were very happy together.