today is Mothers' Day, and it's the first day that i'm blogging in over a month. (we can talk about that a little later, if you like.) for the length of the day, i've been met with pictures of the most beautiful women on my Facebook timeline as friends from all around my town, the country and this world acknowledge their moms and the blessing each of them has been. i've had several people (my father included - nice one, Dad!) remind me to tell my mother how special she is today; i've had others arguing that this day should be celebrated with caution because not all mothers are amazing, and yet others maintaining that it shouldn't really be celebrated at all because it's exclusionary. (everything's exclusionary if you look at it long enough, but i try not to pick fights in corners where i don't belong.)
i sent my Mama a message, but didn't post anything on Facebook. yet here i am writing a blog post about her, and about today. blogs somehow seem more private, even though all the same eyes may eventually make it here. if i've coaxed you away from your Facebook or Instagram newsfeed, i'll reward you with a bit of introspection (lucky you!).
a close friend of mine lost her mom a week ago, and i've been in a bit of a fog since then. i think that a lot of this - a lot of the pain and anger i have been fighting through - has to do not only with how much of an incredible woman Aunty Jen was, but also how very deeply i value and depend on my own mom. just the thought of losing her is horrifying to me. today hurts because i imagine Cathryn and Roanne's pain; i breathe it into the cavity of my chest and the truth and greatness and gravity of it stings. today hurts because i can still remember the catch in my father's voice when he got the phone call that morning telling him my grandmother's cancer was this time and finally incurable; i still can picture two of the only times i have ever seen him cry, and both of those occasions were for his unbearably beautiful mom. today hurts because these are just two of the stories that spring to mind; because i know that there are so many people around me who do not have the privilege and advantage that i do - of knowing my mother, and even more, loving her and having every chance to tell her of her significance. so finally, here is my truth.
my mother is my hero. she has known me all of my life, held me inside her as i grew - a mysterious mini-monster, fingernails too small for their size to be comparable to anything; unknowable, and yet totally known. i belonged in her being, i am native to her country, i was fearfully and wonderfully made. she the instrument, the vessel that held me. my mother, who left a home she'd always known to marry the man she loved and live with him in a foreign country; my mother is my very first home. she and my dad raised my sister and me in a small town, and my memories are nothing but holy - running around in the yard, climbing trees, homemade meals, watermelon seed-spitting contests, silkworms, birthday cakes, cats, notes in my lunchbox. my mother, the teacher; who has mothered so many of her students and loved them deeply, much as she has loved me; my mom was my Grade 1 teacher, the woman who wouldn't respond in the classroom when i addressed her as "Mom" and who gave me a bad mark for my handwriting. i still give her grief for that; what a difficult job that must have been, to teach your precocious, year-too-young daughter, nothing but knees, elbows and opinions, amidst a sea of other faces - each of them as important as my own. my mom let me have adventures, took me on nature walks, sewed me dresses, sent me on a trip to Johannesburg with my father when i was 8 years old and set me the task of interviewing my gran while i was there. she tied my hair up every morning, all the way till matric. there are invented words and phrases in my vocabulary that are undeniably hers - how do you spell bobbley? bobalee? she knit a love of reading into my being, read Lewis and Tolkien and Rowling aloud to us at bed-time; she made Sindi and me special pillows and Tupperware dinners complete with cut-up carrots and apples for Bird Club nights, where we would drowsily gaze up at slides of raptors late into the evening, lying on the floor at the front of the Scout Hall. my mother, the doctor; she would stroke my head and back in sickness, plait my hair, get me water and ginger ale, speak to me as comfort. when i was sick enough to find myself in hospital earlier this year, it was my mother whose advice i sought, whose voice i heard on the other end of the line, sending those same words of comfort to me over countless telephone wires. my mother, the builder; who does not shy away from building into the lives of those around her, who invests her time so thoroughly in the wellbeing of others, who exhausts herself with the intentional love she pours out on her family, friends and strangers alike. my mother, who loved me at times when i was unbearable even to myself, who grew me up and watched me occasionally walk away only to find myself back again; who came to watch my U13B hockey matches, as terrible as i was, as little as she understood the game. my mother, who taught me how to use my typewriter, who watches rugby and silly series with me, who sends me photos of my cats in ridiculous sleeping poses, who encourages me to write and tells me i am talented; who loves my brother and his wife as fiercely as if they were her very own children; who prays and struggles and writes and sleeps far too little at night. she is so very often an example of Christ in what she does. she is my cheerleader and she is my rock and she is such an important friend in my life.
my first country.
the first place i ever lived."
i love you, Mama.
p.s. if you are reading this and today hurts for you, for whatever reason, know that i hurt with you and i am thinking of you.
p.p.s. oh yes, i promised to talk about not having blogged in forever, despite me needing to do so for NaPoWriMo. oops! i did write most of the poems for the month; i will post all of my favourites that i wrote in a few days for you to read :)