What Would Our Mothers Say?

My mother would have a field day with the goings on in our world right now. Sadly, she died five years ago on Mother’s Day, which I always felt was quite intentional on her part.

She was a feisty one. Loving and gracious to her family and friends. Fierce when (her) rules were broken — either inside the family unit or out in the broader community. Sassy with a sense of humor; I loved her crinkly smile lines. Deeply thoughtful about issues — political, economic, cultural, environmental — you name it. Passionate about many causes.

She marched for women’s rights in Washington. She chewed out those demonstrating inappropriate behavior, whether they were grandchildren or errant taxi drivers. She was a bad ass and oh, how I loved her.

I think of her so much, but particularly this past year. She would have been glued to CNN, watching the myriad of events unfold — the pandemic, the election, racial injustice, the environment. Frankly, the list of significant issues facing our world these days is overwhelming, and she would have been in the front row, watching and reflecting upon it all.

I can’t help but wonder what my mother would say about all of it.

We lost a lot of moms this year — more than normal, I think, when adding up the COVID numbers. All of those moms who we will hold in our hearts on Mother’s Day — and every day. Are they peering down at our crazy world, shaking their heads at all the nonsense?

And what about all the moms of all ages who have worked their butts off these past many months to stay safe, to keep their families safe? What are they saying, as they make difficult decisions with regard to their children’s education, their own careers, the well-being of their family? How do they explain things to their children? Their grandchildren?

My mother was quite ill for several months before she died and spent the last couple of months in hospice. We visited her almost every single day. I can’t imagine how horrible it would have been if we were barred from seeing her due to the pandemic. So many elderly people at their most vulnerable. What do they think about as they sit alone in their hospital beds each night?

One thing all these moms have in common is that they are mothers to children. They went through a lot to have those children, whether through childbirth, adoption, or taking in grandchildren and others who need mothering. They persevere. They are strong.

“We do what we need to do,” they probably say, heaving a deep sigh and shaking their collective heads at the antics of the world out there. “Idiots,” I hear my mother mutter.

Strong women indeed. It takes a lot of strength to do what mothers do. My mother did her utmost to instill important values in her children, to raise us as strong yet caring humans. I am blessed to have two amazing daughters, who are making their way in this crazy world as best they can.

Two great quotes, authors unknown:

“I am a strong woman because a strong woman raised me.”

“Strong women: May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.”

Let the voices of the mothers be heard this Mother’s Day; I suspect they have a great deal of important wisdom to share.

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Betsy Hayhow Hemming

Betsy Hayhow Hemming

Betsy Hayhow Hemming is an author and leadership coach. She writes fiction and creative nonfiction. www.betsyhemming.com.