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It's important to be silly, to be serious, to be strong, to be frail...for what is life if we only shared a mask?

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mothering Day

Got back from Vegas where billboards promised pleasures untold. Huge hotels kept their occupants in the dark, addicted to casino tables, night clubs and other entertainment so they would lose track of time. Was it morning, noon or night…did anyone care. The conference was successful and a few days later, I was happy to be back home. Back to springtime in green Central Texas in time to celebrate Mothers Day weekend.

As you know thoughts are like clouds, they start as a puff, they grow, they disperse, they morph, they shapeshift. I started thinking of all the wonderful mothers out there and like that cloud, it changed to the concept of mothering.

Growing up, I took my mother for granted. Even today, I take her for granted. Something I shouldn't do, I know but I view the love of my near and dear like sunshine. I wake up and I expect a sunrise. I wake up and I expect my mom's love to be there, constant and always present. She lives in Madras (yes you know, I can't call it Chennai...I am trying hard) and we talk weekly or should I say, she talks and I listen. Mom's talks are filled with family news, with loads of advice about my girls and more advice on how I should take more calcium for my bone density. She always says "Just like your girls come first for you, you come first for me. If you don't take care of yourself, you can't take care of anyone else."

We then spoke about my sister who just had her third baby, a beautiful boy, on May 2 who decided he couldn't wait till the agreed date. Babies don't give mothers any advance notice about their arrival. Despite the doctor and the parents deciding on a convenient date and time, they look at their own schedule and decide when to make their arrival. Some are early, some are late and those few considerate ones, are on time. When I spoke to her this morning, she was cheerful as a lark despite the lack of sleep and planning gone awry.

Though Mother's day is special and it means that our kids and partners and others will raise a toast to us, it need not be gender specific and confined to the role of child bearing or rearing.

Mothering is defined as "to give birth to; create and produce; to watch over, nourish, and protect maternally". I think of my friend Elizabeth Mendoza, who is a nurse who does this everyday. I think of Diana who helps foster families. I think of Kristen, Hypatia and Poonam who mother all their friends. I think of my friends who mother their pets and take in strays. I think of Karen who mothers her girl scout troop. I think of my friends who mother me from all over the world. I think of teachers who mother their students. I think of others who mother their god children, their nephews, nieces and volunteer as big brothers and sisters.

Most of all, I admire the men out there who push away the world's view of machismo and have no qualms about showing their gentler side.

To quote Oprah, "Biology is the least of what makes someone a mother."

It is not just the hand that rocks the cradle that rules the world.  It is also the hand that is held out that moves the world.

Happy Mothering Day!

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