There was a cool hand on my warm face, and I never forgot the feeling of it. I was sick, and my mother was sitting there next to me on the bed. Everyone else had gone (no one really wants to be around when germs are on the loose), but she remained. She fetched cold water, and washcloths, and towels numerous times. Sickness is not something that fades quickly away.
It's the quality of a good mother - that willingness to be where no one else can bear to be, and go the distance. She was always like that and because of this, hers is the first name I think of whenever I am sick. Even as a grownup.
It's what I thought of today - Mother's Day - the cool and gentle hand on my forehead. That gesture alone says 'love'.
On this Mother's Day we drove to see her, to stay with her, and to celebrate her Day with others who love her. She was the star of our show, hands down! And there were other mothers at the table being honored. We were fed royally, given flowers, gifts, cards, and cash, and not allowed to help! Bliss, with a capital B.
When I became married, and later a mother, I felt so blessed to have grown up with a mother so sensational that I had some hope of being like her. That was my goal. Then one day a small face scowled up at me and said something like, "You can't MAKE me do it!" and I was shocked. Stunned! I immediately picked up the phone, and dialed.
"Mother! Remember when I was growing up and you were trying to teach me to clean up my messes? I can't believe I was so rude to you - and snooty! It was terrible - I am so sorry!"
And do you know what I heard on the other line? Not laughter, not even the hint of any chuckling. Nope. She said, "Oh, that. Well, I knew you would learn. I knew you would make it, without a doubt. And so will your children!" All very calm. All very confident in her somewhat war-torn daughter on the other end of the line.
It happens with all mothers, I think. We are rude to our own, or unfeeling, or don't listen very well. We forget about it and grow up. We get married. We have children. They are rude or unfeeling or don't listen. We call our poor long-suffering mothers. Then lo and behold, WHAT COMES AROUND GOES AROUND.
And that phone call has also come to me, of course. The thankful words as I answer the phone. The "I'm sorry!" or "How could I have been so beastly?" or, just "I love you mom.."
It is perhaps one of the sweetest of all mothering moments. It's what we do for each other, when we realize that one of us has been a hero.
See you along the way!