May 11, 2008


Happy Mother's Day, Mom


It's Mother's Day. I've had two calls already - one from my friend Tonia, the other from my sister Gilly - wishing me a Happy Mother's Day. Both times, I started, thanked them, and returned the greeting.

I always forget about it. Another friend linked over a beautiful piece in the NYT from Thomas Friedman about his mother, which I took as a mother's day greeting, though Friedman's mother sounds waaaay cooler than I'll ever be. We used to spoil my mother stupid on Mother's Day, because she deserved it. She died 8 years ago in March, missing her own 71st birthday by just a week. I'm sure that pissed her off - that lady loved a celebration in her honour. She had no problem doing all the cooking as long as we brought all the gifts.

To me, Mother's Day was my mother's day, not mine. It still feels like a borrowed cloak. I am a good mother, but not a great one. I don't have her patience, her stillness or her easy way with the world. There's a little too much of my father's guardedness stirred into the mix to be able to distill the pure joy out of life that must be there - my mother could always find it.

She grew up during the Second World War outside London, and would tell us stories of bombs dropping literally all around them. Houses burned out, a brother off to war, herself, a teenage girl with a broken leg, awaiting treatment among soldiers torn apart by artillery. But for the dark history, my mother was always light. That's how I think of her - she was always singing, always baking, always generous.

I have these glorious irises at the side of the house, and many I've transplanted around the gardens. My mom's name was Iris, and she was named for the first flowers her mother saw when she opened her eyes after giving birth. My mother used to say that while she didn't love her name, she was thankful somebody hadn't sent my grandmother daffodils.

These flowers are older than I am. Every year they come up, and I wait for them. Three feet high, statuesque beauties, richly coloured. Even in death there is a certain grace about them.

My mother was aptly named.

6 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lorraine, you make reference to your mother being named after Irises and is very appropriate as is the case with my late mother who was named Ruby and it also was very fitting, she was a gem. Well said Lorraine and very touching. Brings back a lot of memories of days gone by. I did my Mother's Day tribute to a gem by erecting flowers on her grave today as I do every year at this time.

May 11, 2008 4:32 PM  
Blogger OmemeeOzzie said...

Thanks to Hallmark and North American traditions, since coming to Canada lo those many years ago, I often "share" my birthday with Mum. Even if Mother's Day does not fall on the 11th, I inevitably am included in Mother's Day activities. Don't misunderstand; I do not begrudge Mum anything. Watching her face at lunch basking in her "Mum-ness" surrounded by all six of her kids, behaving as only relatively well adapted siblings do, I also smiled when I saw her looking around the table; we caught one another's eye similtaneously. There was a tear in hers, a tear in mine. Not sadness, you inderstand. Just happy that we are are still together and that moments like this, alsthough rare, mean so much to so many.

While you may not have submitted an MD-ype column to "Mock", I hope he reads your blog from time to time.

May 12, 2008 12:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great tribute to Mom, Rainey!

Love
Gilly

May 12, 2008 4:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice blog Rainey.

Roz

May 12, 2008 7:47 PM  
Blogger Lorraine said...

So, ladies, what do you say for Father's Day I post the pic of Dad with the tea cosy on his head?

May 12, 2008 8:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pleeeeease do it. It's too funny and totally Dad.

Roz

May 15, 2008 11:18 AM  

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