Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mothers

I am thinking of you today. How strong you are. How you wake every morning - tired or rested - to nurture, feed, care for, shuttle, love, and teach. You are building - always building - souls. And I think it's not the least bit cliche' to say, you are changing the world.

"All that is really important is invisible: love, God, air. Mothers who... put families first... are the nobility of today. They take care of the invisible." - Peggy O'Mara, Mothering Magazine

We drove home from church just before the rain began. It's coming down gently now. I can hear it pattering the roof, plinking on the patio as I type. I can hear my girls in the kitchen with Doug. They are folding paper, searching for ribbons. All secrecy and whispers.

As we pulled into the driveway the kids tumbled out of the car and ran to the tree - its billows of pink blowing in the pre-storm wind, handfuls of blossoms slipping loose, falling between my girls' fingers. They tossed them like confetti and we tried for a picture. This was the best we could do. But I'm glad I am looking at my children, not the camera. They are pieces of me - God's joy slung out into their tiny beings. They are the only ones that call me Mama.

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I feel the bigness of it. This unexpected quiver full of children standing around me. They hold still for a moment, then kick off their sandals and run headlong into the wind. I watch them and I am content.

Thornton Wilder wrote, "We are most alive when we are conscious of our treasures."

I am conscious today. I am alive.

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The rain is still falling, tiny petals dripping off the branches as the glory of this tree with its outstretched arms, shifts into a new stage of life. It will be no less beautiful - just changed, progressed - moving.

Like we do, through motherhood.


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I love this cover from the New Yorker, printed five years before Eliza was born.

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I'll leave you to your own interpretations. But I must say I love the contrast of color. I love that this voluptuous woman is holding a set of twins in her arms, and it appears another set of twins is collapsed over her thighs! I love that her long golden hair, crowned with a daisy chain, is glowing. I love the double stroller, the bag of baby paraphernalia on the bench.

"Don't be lured away from the plan of God to the ways of the world where motherhood is belittled, femininity is decried, and the divinely established role of a wife and mother is mocked. Let the world go its way. You follow the plan of the Lord for the greatest measure of true, eternal achievement, and the fullness of happiness." - Richard G. Scott

There were days I wondered if I would be a mother. I felt it, wanted it, but the years of trying seemed to stack up. I still mourn with women who long for children, for this opportunity, while disappointments continue to surface, weigh them down.

I am convinced Motherhood knows no boundaries. Biology does not define us. We mother to our own, to other's own. We champion children everywhere. It is within our divine sensitivities - an eternal part of our souls.

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Doug's Mother

So if you are deep in the trenches, climbing out of the trenches, peering over that expectant edge, or remembering the trenches, I want to say...

You matter. You are the window through which your children see the world. Your love is unmatched. You are doing a holy work. And I am better because of you. I am lifted by your commitment.

To my own sweet mother, thank you. Instead of doling out advice, you listened. You taught me that a vibrant faith in Christ will sustain us through anything. You showed me how to conquer fear, how to laugh at myself, and that there is beauty in being still - in watching things grow.

I am grateful each day for you. I love you.

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My Mom and me on Mother's Day, 1975

The poet Sharon Doubiago wrote, "My mother is the poem I'll never be able to write, though everything I write is a poem to my mother."

Mothers, I celebrate you today.

Wherever you are.

14 comments:

  1. catherine...i love everything about this! it is so much fun to see you and your beautiful children. feel the peace and gratitude of a mama's heart. witness the blooming of such love. xox

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  2. Breathtakingly beautiful words and pictures! Seriously. What a sweet tribute to mothers. I adore that picture of you and your kids. Yes, I think it's perfect that you are looking at them.

    I am almost done with One Thousand Gifts. I cannot believe my good fortune (although I know it's far more than just that) in stumbling upon it. I am looking around me and noticing bits of grace and beauty. I can't believe how full my cup is (and that's not because my life has suddenly changed). I can't wait to hear your thoughts about it.

    Happy Mother's Day, Cath!

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  3. I love how you write and how you live.

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  4. beautiful as always Catherine. thank you.

    And, oh how I love that picture of you with your mother on mother's day. I want my kids to have pictures like that.

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  5. Oh, so sweet, Cath. Love it.

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  6. Do you remember the moment you realized the bigness of it all?!? It's an overwhelming, peaceful, reassuring feeling and I find myself clinging to it when I sometimes want to throw in the towel.
    I luved every word and the New Yorker picture made me smile...to see through the artists eyes of a woman really living, loving.
    Just perfect Cath! Luv ya! *cami

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  7. I loe hte picture of you on Mother's Day as well as the New Yorker picture. It reminds me to remember the joyful moments and what motherhood is all about!

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  8. Love that New Yorker front page and the quote from Richard G. Scott. I echo your sentiments. I feel so blessed by motherhood and hope my quiver grows larger still. I keep praying for work so that I feel we can continue to progress our family before it's too late. I love how you capture such moments. Happy Mother's Day to you. You are an amazing mother.

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  9. Happy Mother's Day all of you! As Courtney said, all of us are so blessed.

    Anne Marie - Anxious to start Ann's book. I finished Walking and really enjoyed it. Thank you! An insightful friend helped me understand Thoreau a bit more. He was so infuriating at the beginning of Walden I couldn't stand it. But I've since learned (from Walking) it's his way. He wants to agitate you, throw you off kilter, make you question your assumptions. He's a brute and he knows it. But then he pulls back, philosophizes, and shares some really golden truths. So I'm determined to finish Walden over time. But I'll start One Thousand Gifts this month. I'll be excited to hear your thoughts.

    Bec - We're praying for you too. Anything new??? I'll phone you. I love you.

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  10. I love the twinkle in your eyes on your mama's lap.

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  11. "He wants to agitate you, throw you off kilter"...love your description of him! I will have to pick up Walking again. Walking is actually one of the favorite things my husband and I do together...my husband just seems to open up his soul better when he's in motion. I haven't finished the last chapter of One Thousand Gifts yet...I just don't want the book to end so I've been postponing the finishing of it..so sweet and so good.

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  12. Happy Mothers Day to you too Cath! What a beautiful post and pictures. Thank you for sharing...and for mothering! The world needs more mothers like you. xoxo

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