Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

Life began with waking up and loving my mother's face
--George Eliot

What is a mother?

Before I had my son, I harboured doubts about being a good mother. Even after my precious son was born, I experienced (and no doubt will continue to experience) moments when I wondered if I'd done the right thing...pushed him hard enough in this or that pursuit...encouraged him enough in his interests...imbued him with enough but not too much independence...provided him with the right example to pursue integrity and honour in his life...given him the opportunities to grow into the young man he can be...

Of one thing I am certain: I have loved him entirely and unconditionally.
And he has grown into a wise and beautiful human being. Wiser than his mother, I think. I am so proud of him. And I am learning from this incredible miracle of God (giving birth is truly a miracle) who is less than half my age; this young man who sees the world through the open eyes of quiet compassion and the wisdom of an angel. My precious son...

What is a mother?

I think automatically of my own mother, who was loving, kind, gentle and inspirational. She devoted herself almost entirely to raising me and my brother and sister, almost to a fault; certainly to the detriment of her own pursuits and identity (like many women of her generation). I am happy to say that she later pursued her interests as a professional landscape artist, botanist and naturalist prior to succumbing to a stroke.

The role of a mother is probably the most important career a woman can have--Janet Mary Riley, Lawyer and writer

According to Francis Cardinal Spellman:

A mother is a font and spring of life,
A mother is a forest in whose heart
Lies hid a secret ancient as the hills,
For men to claim and take its wealth away;
And like the forest shall her wealth renew
And give, and give again, that men may live.

What is a mother?...

She broke the bread into two fragments and gave them to the children, who ate with avidity.
"She hath kept none for herself," said the sergeant.
"Because she is not hungry," said a soldier.
"Because she is a mother," said the sergeant.
--Victor Hugo

What is a mother?
We are all mothers. Every woman is a mother, whether she gives birth to a child or a movement; whether she nurtures a family, a corporation or a nation.
--Nina Munteanu - author, scientist and mother

Happy Mother's Day!


Jean-Luc Picard said...

A beautiful post, Nina, full of fab quotes. An ideal Mother's Day post.

Nina Munteanu said...

Thank you, Jean-luc. I wish you a great day, celebrating this special day. We all have mothers

Unknown said...

Your tribute lovely, Nina, but we could use so much more enlightenment about motherhood. Sacrifice and love capture only the widest, flattest perspective.
True mothers (and I maintain it's not for every woman, though some men live the life--gestation isn't necessary) experience all of time and space differently. The way mothers learn and keep learning, love and keep loving, fear, anticipate, and intuit follows their children.
Our culture still attachments too much sentiment, silliness, and (at bottom) misogynistic resentment to a profound, lifelong, constantly risky, and mystical adventure, without which none of would exist.

Nina Munteanu said...

Very well said, Kathleen! Yes, all said and done, motherhood is a journey that encompasses the "other worldly"... I like your use of the word "mystical" because it truly is. I would describe motherhood as the embodiment of God and His Way. Every mother, I think, is "touched" by an angel. As for sacrifice and love... we have yet to fully describe these honorable traits and their divine motivations...

Heather Dugan Creative / Footsteps said...

Beautifully expressed, Nina.
I'm often struck as I sit with my almost 92-year old grandmother that, while she often can't remember who lives and who is gone from this world, she always asks about her "boys". Her favorite memories are of caring for them. And I get that... I feel so privileged to be "mom" to my three. It's a front row seat to some pretty great adventures.

Nina Munteanu said...

I hadn't consciously thought of motherhood as a privilege. But you're so right, Heather... It is, isn't it? To be a mother (and fully empbrace the responsibilities of motherhood) is to participate in God's most privileged of gifts: the gift of nurturing in a better world.

Thanks Kathleen and Heather for sharing your insights.

Lynda said...

Your mother sounds a lot like mine was. Awesomely dedicated. It's a grand thing to have family.

Nina Munteanu said...

Hey, Lynda! Thanks for dropping by! Yes, aren't our mothers special? Each one is so different; yet all mothers share that special quality that comes with having and raising a child... :) Hope you had a great Mother's Day, Lynda! And good luck with your new printings of your book with Edge! Great news.

Anonymous said...

Mother's Day is well past, and buying cards for this occasion, I must admit, has always proved difficult for me. We had five children in our family with the eldest autistic, the second struggling with learning disabilities which persist, keeping her one month from homelessness in this modern age of super-inflated costs to merely sustain oneself. The last was a boy, who set things on fire but was kind to animals and did not wet the bed. When I got married at 26, my mother said, 'Remember, you've got to get them by the balls.' She did have compassion for the poor--we could eat neither grapes nor lettuce during the farmworkers' strike--but I believe she got more than she could handle, thus the self-sacrificing mantra of mothers may be justified. She is now 84 and growing forgetful, but upon telling her my brother was released from a correctional facility, she said, "I always wondered if it was your dad calling him a simple ass all the time that impacted your brother." So in her grey years, she still assesses the past. My good friend often says, "We have to remember, everyone is just on loan." That means children, too.

Nina Munteanu said...

Thanks, Cathleen, for that wonderful comment. I really like what your good friend says in your last line: "everyone is just on loan." ... Follows the tenet of the native coastal indians... and keeps us vigilant of how we treat others... respectfully...