When I think of a mother I think of my own mother who gave selflessly and tirelessly her entire life. My mother worked from dawn ‘til late every night, 365 days of the year. She was always busy with an endless list of chores. From growing our food in the garden, to milking the cows, to tending the chickens, to washing, ironing, sewing and mending our clothes, to cleaning the house, mowing the grass, maintaining the flowers and shrubs. She was as busy as any bee as she multi-tasked to fulfill her mandate for each day.
Yet, in all her hustle and bustle she still had time to nurture and encourage us kids to explore the horizons. She taught us about our responsibilities to ourselves and to others whether they were family or community. She taught us about discipline and self-reliance. She dealt with us during our times of self-centeredness, jealousy and tantrums. She nursed our “owies” with soothing cuddles, kisses and understanding words. She taught us about life and our environment.
Each day began with the planning of our meals that day and the cleaning of the house plus baking. Almost every night when we arrived home from school, mom would be pulling fresh baked bread, cake or cookies out of the oven. Monday was laundry day made of activities from scrubbing to rinsing, to hanging on the line and bringing back in the house, to the much needed ironing. Friday was cleaning and bath day as bedding was changed, floors were scrubbed and furniture was dusted. Most weekends her family members would arrive Friday evening and stay until Sunday evening.
With each season came a slight change in her chore list. With spring being a time to prepare the half-acre garden and plant, summer a time to weed and till, and fall being a time to harvest and preserve our food for the coming year. Winter was a time of sewing, knitting, crocheting and keeping us kids “entertained.” There was no television or telephone, so come rain or shine, cold and snow; each and every day we heard, “Get outside and play.”
Mom always put us kids first, in spite of exhaustion and/or illness; like the ever-ready bunny she simply kept going. I remember the time she had the cartilage removed from her knee. Her leg was the size of a basketball from hip to ankle. Although she had been given instructions to take it easy, the crutches were thrown away when she discovered they impaired her ability to care for her family.
As a mother and now a grandmother, I know there were times when she felt we were a bunch of “ungrateful little buggers.” Those times when all she needed was a hug and to hear an appreciative thank you from us kids.
I see the parallel to my mother and to “Mother Earth”. Our planet that works 24 hours a day, 365 days per year, century after century; tirelessly trying to sustain and nurture us. Supporting our physical need for clean oxygen, hydration, food, clothing and shelter while nurturing our emotional need for peace and joy and stimulating us intellectually by supplying us ample challenges and curiosities to learn and grow from.
This Mother’s Day I will spend time with nature. Perhaps by pulling an alien weed, planting a native seed, removing a man-made barrier or constructing a feeder or shelter I can express my gratitude for all that nature has given me. After all; that which we do for nature, we do for ourselves. I call this the circle of life.