Being a mother is very different now than it was when I was a child. Now, because of the boomer generation, more and more mothers are also grandmothers, great grandmothers, even great, great grandmothers. We’re often part of the sandwich generation meaning we’re taking care of our own children and also our mothers and fathers, often ailing. Many of us are juggling two careers (or more!) if we’ve chosen to work outside the home as well as take care of that home ourselves. We partner more with husbands or partners who are sharing responsibilities that once were only under the purview of the mom - of - the - house.
But mothers are still the same in many ways. We are still often the fixers, the worriers, the most caring of caretakers. This is a year when mothers may need more tender care than they’ve been given in the past.
The trouble is, the traditional ways don’t seem quite right this year. Flowers seem very frivolous for households on a budget. I’ve always felt sad when I must throw away wilted blooms. Candy or lollies aren't a good choice for many who are diabetic, hypoglycemic or working on slimming their hips or maintaining teeth. The beautiful cards on offer often don’t say the right thing or don’t reflect our mothers’ personalities. After all, we’re not all that sentimental, syrupy kind of mothers the pastel cards seem; we may resort to humor which then doesn’t reflect our feelings.
The answer is a book of poetry. One that reflects many aspects of motherhood and all the relationships surrounding it. Mom won’t expect all the poems to fit your relationship with her; instead she’ll get to reflect on motherhood in general and choose the passages that have special meaning for her. Those may reflect ways she relates to her own mother, reflect the ways she relates to you, or maybe even open a subject you should have talked about with her long ago.
Carolyn Howard-Johnson and I have written such a chapbook of poetry for mothers with beautiful photos by May L. Lattanzio. The title comes from one of Carolyn's wistful poems, “She Wore Emerald Then . . .” We hope you’ll consider ordering it for your mother from Amazon. They’ll ship fast and you can give it alone or slip it into a the box filled with a pashmina scarf, a pair of silver - tone earrings, a rose, and of course, the gratitude that is always implicit but maybe not always quite so explicit.
Here is one of the poems from it:
Wishing to Be a Child Again
She goes too long
in the telling of a story.
Gutters between her brows
make her angry
even when she's not.
If I had know then
I would not have looked so hard,
have listened for the sweet
notes, ignored how on and on she went
I would have loved what I had.
It is from our Celebration Series of chapbooks. A new concept in poetry chapbooks, as far as I can tell.
Speaking of poetry, if you're a poet or interested in poetry in general, Carolyn and I will be chatting on (US) Mother's Day 4:30 pm (Pacific Time) May 9. We'll be talking poetry, mothers and daughters, and anything else you call in. Poets are welcome to call in with a few memorable lines from their own poetry about holidays. To set a reminder for the show or to listen in, visit:
To call in on the day, just visit the site and click on the "click to call" buttons (no charge as it uses voice over internet protocol technology - - that means it uses your PC for the voice communication), or you can dial in without a computer on (US): (646) 716 7734. We'd love you to join us.