Posted March 18, 2011 by jimhigley
While the rest of the world is packing away their “Kiss Me. I’m Irish” sweatshirts, their shamrock-covered sweaters, and their corned beef and cabbage recipes passed down through the generations, I always think of today – the day after St. Patrick’s day – as Mom’s Day. Specifically my mom. She passed away on this day, many years ago, at the age of 49.
That’s her in the photo. It was taken two days after she gave birth to her first children, my brothers Tom and Dave, back in 1952.
If she only knew what was waiting for her on the motherhood adventure ahead – which eventually would be three more boys including my brothers Kevin, Mick and finally, me. She had her own basketball team.
This photograph has always made me smile. Sitting up in her maternity ward room, with fresh lipstick and wearing a spotless robe, what I see in this picture is a young, 26-year-old girl about to embark on her journey to mom-dom, after what was probably her last restful night of sleep, gazing into the pages of her “Better Homes and Gardens Baby Book” for guidance.
Truth is, she didn’t need any book. Mothering came quite naturally for her.
I was only 14 when she died, but I still have pretty vivid memories of the “A” game she brought to her world. She was the best school volunteer. The friendliest lunchroom helper. A laundry technician extraordinaire. She was also, hands-down, the the most joyous parent in the stands as she cheered for her boys. A world-class disciplinarian (which seemed unfortunate at the time!) with cooking skills that could have been adopted by an Army mess hall crew. She thoughtfully kept her fingernails the perfect length to insure mesmerizing back scratches, she liked to doodle when she was on the telephone, and she baked cookies numerous times a week. Best of all, she considered herself the lucky one in the fraternity house she called home.
But the one trait I value most in her was her ability to find joy and contentment in the moment. I didn’t understand that quality as a young boy. I’ve come to see it, however, as a grown man. She truly embraced every moment she was in – be it sitting on the front porch with child #3, a cup of coffee with our neighbor, Helen, the weekly encounter with our town butcher, or the morning breakfast ritual with her five boys lined up at the kitchen counter in birth order.
She not only lived in her moments, she found meaning in her moments. And in doing so, she found value in her life.
And therein lies the biggest lesson she left her boys. And the world.
So that’s what I celebrate on this 36th Annual Mom’s Day. Because I’m a very lucky and grateful son.
I hope you celebrate with me – by finding a little more meaning in your own day…