Mother’s Day is the day that we are supposed to let our mothers know how much we love and appreciate them. This particular Mother’s Day is going to be even harder for many people — unless you have been living under a rock, I don’t need to explain any further. My editor, a woman who I have grown to love and respect almost from the first moment I met her, recently shared with all of the readers of the Standard that her mom passed away. Her mom had been in a nursing home and was alone. When my editor had texted me about this, I wanted to reach through the phone and hug her. Try to make her feel better. My first response is always to go for the quick laugh, but I couldn’t do that just yet.
You see, whenever my editor and I would meet for lunch, the discussion about our mothers was inevitable. She would share with me that every week, she and her siblings would meet at their mom’s nursing home to visit and then would go out for brunch. Even though her mom’s memory had long since faded, her mom was still bringing her children together almost every week. Which I am sure brought them all closer. Which I am sure, on some level, their mom knew. I reminded my editor of these conversations. Of how amazing it was that three siblings, who all have busy lives, would come together to visit the woman who brought them into this world, even if the conversations were often one sided.
Because what is the “job” of a mother? On the most fundamental level, it is to make sure our children are fed and clothed and protected. There were some days, when my monkeys were little, that I would put them to sleep, get into bed, and be so grateful that I kept them all alive. That seemed to be the goal. Now that they are bigger and more “independent,” I just want them to stay healthy and happy (though what they define as “happy” and what I define as “happy” are sometimes two very different animals…but for another column). This whole quarantine thing has put such a different spin on things, because, at the end of each day of quarantine, when I get into bed, I am even more grateful that I have kept them all alive
My house no longer has three little boys playing video games against each other on the couch; in fact, the only person sitting on that couch these days is Husband #1. Poor guy has taken to watching reruns of various sports championship games. Good thing his memory isn’t great and he doesn’t always know how the games ended. And the three boys have taken to learning downstairs in the basement “Beis,” exchanging thoughts and ideas about whatever it is that they are learning. (I still have no freakin idea….). And then there is DIL #1, who has probably had an eye-opening experience about what it is like to live with only boys and why that has turned her mother-in-law into a crazy person who should wear make up but doesn’t.
But they are close, and they are together, and they really, really seem to love each other. So how does a mother do that? How does a mother make sure that her kids are always close? My boys know there are many things that I say way too often. Two of them are “I am your best friend until you get married, and then your wife is your best friend,” and “I just want you all to always be close.”
Will the latter happen? Does me telling them that over and over again guarantee it will happen? I have absolutely no idea. But as a mother, I can only hope and dream that all of the things I have done for them, that I have done from the bottom of my heart with no expectation of gratitude (because as any good mother knows, it is a thankless job) will help keep them bonded and close. No matter where they end up living, no matter how they each choose to raise their own families, that God will keep them well and safe and happy. And that they will always hear my voice in their heads telling them to stay close.
Wishing all of the mothers a happy and healthy Mother’s Day, and sending comfort to all those who no longer have mothers to celebrate with.
Banji Ganchrow of Teaneck is hoping that she won’t have to yell at Husband #1 on Mother’s Day. Her gift requests were very specific, so if he messed it up, it won’t end well.