Wednesday, May 6, 2009

MOTHERS’/DAUGHTERS’ DAY


Thunderstorms, heavy rain, and tornado alerts prevail on The Mountain this morning and create a lot of indoor time for introspection. While the rain pelts steadily and dogwood blooms fall to the ground in a stream of white snow, I think about the impending occasion of Mothers’ Day. I know that it’s a day when I’ll be remembered with flowers, large cards with wonderful sentiments written on them, and a gracious plenty of B&N gift cards so I can buy books without chiding myself for spending money on this luxury.

However, I wish that the Mothers’ Day observance would be changed to Mothers/Daughters’ Day because I always feel as though I should send them blooms, cards, cookbooks (which my youngest daughter loves), and other remembrances to let them know how special they are and how they occupy such a large part of my heart.

This morning, I leafed through a manuscript (unpublished) entitled RESURRECTION OF THE WORD and found a lot of “daughter poems,” one of which appears below, and memories took over the time I usually devote to writing. I think about the strongest quality I love and respect in both daughters and thank God that both of them have a sensitivity to the needs of others and are empathetic women. Both are caretakers; one by profession (social work) and the other through extended motherhood when she surprised all of us by having another child after her two oldest children were grown. Although both suffer, at times, from their heightened sensitivity, I’m glad that they aren’t as narcissistic as many women their age seem to be nowadays. Neither of them have houses with study walls bearing numerous degrees or jobs in which they have achieved corporate leadership, but both contribute a lot toward nurturing and empowering humans.

My daughters would probably be classified “introvert” on the Meyers/Briggs scale, but their shyness doesn’t stop them from manifesting caring for people and animals – Stephanie has seven cats; Elizabeth, a cat and a dog. They pay attention to the emergencies and demands of those around them – Stephanie in her job in the Department of Health and Welfare; Elizabeth as a mother and home-school teacher of 20 years. I respect these once-tow-headed daughters and on Mothers’ Day, I may reach them before they telephone me because I want to tell them how much I love them and wish them well on “Mothers’/Daughters’ Day.”

The poem below is about Elizabeth, my youngest:

FOR JOEL’S MOTHER, ELIZABETH ALICE
whom his father calls Alice
when he’s angry with her;
my daughter, round cheeks flushed,
remembered straining on a white table,
the shuttle of birthing,
her plump fingers clasping mine
as she pushed Joel into being,
a four-pound wonder reaching up
to grasp the oxygen lifeline,
the best thing you have done for us,
and thank you, Elizabeth Alice,
for such simple packaging of soul,
this small goose babbling
in unknown language,
less worldly perceptions delivered non-stop,
already certain of a happy life with you.
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