The first lesson that my Ima taught me was that family isn't defined by location. And that home isn't permanent and can be created between any four walls. I followed her lead in this and today live a plane flight away. I'm not sure she's thrilled that this a lesson I gleaned. It wasn't an intentional one.
Mother's Day is here, and once again, I fall short. No cards in the mail. No calendars ordered from Shutterfly that feature carefully chosen photos of the grandchildren. No gifts en route. Just me, my guilty inaction, and a single thought that haunts me every year: one day, the jig'll be up. My mom will be gone.
During the past two years of her life Mom faded out in a fog of dementia exacerbated by a series of mini-strokes which robbed her of her memory, much of her personality and her ability to live life in any kind of vital way. My mother was the personification of vitality, so to have had that taken away was a cruel punishment.
A lot of people say that Mother's Day is one of those "Hallmark holidays" that don't really exist in the calendar, and I can certainly see their point. The commercialization of Mother's Day doesn't enhance anyone's idea of family. But there's another way that society is "dumbing down" motherhood that we must name and shame.
My mom was a homemaker, devoted to her husband and family, and like many women of her generation she didn't work outside the home. She took child raising very seriously (I have two siblings) and adored her grandkids. But there were a few things she forgot to teach me.
The situation in Nigeria has focused us on the plight of these abducted girls, but were we blind before to this possibility? It always takes a current event to snap us out of our collective fog, to clear away the cobwebs of our own inaction and make us take notice. What can we do to help them and to make our Mother's Day mean a little more?