Cindy Bargell: Mom on my mind
I love you
By Madison Lytle (A poem for Mommy on her Birthday)
The world is round. The oceans are deep.
And when I go to sleep, I’ll always have you to keep.
In my soul and in my heart, you were there from the start.
When I’m scared or when I’m sad, you always make me glad
Out of the mountains and all life through – I’ll always, always love you.
I suppose this column should just end here. If the beautiful poem written by 9-year-old Madison as a birthday tribute to her mom does not tug at your heart strings, just a tiny bit, sensitivity classes may be in order.
Last Saturday I ran into the birthday mom out celebrating with her friends (a bunch of hot mommas, if I do say so myself). Everyone clearly was having a great time, but I wondered if looking back on all the highlights of the day, what ultimately will stand out in Susan’s memory is the birthday tribute from her daughter.
Now, it’s Mother’s Day, a holiday many of us think is a self-serving creation of Hallmark or FTD to boost sales during the slow month of May. I have learned from a reliable Internet site (sponsored by none other than FTD) that Mother’s Day has a long and interesting history. Some think it dates back to the ancient Greek celebration of spring, honoring Rhea, the mother of the gods. Its American roots can be traced to Julia Ward Howe, famous for writing the “Battle Hymn of the Republic.” Howe also authored a Mother’s Day Proclamation for Peace, a call to all mothers to unite for peace in the world – penned in 1870. The holiday became “official” in 1914, and now has the distinction of being the most popular day of the year in the U.S. to eat out at a restaurant – something all of us moms (and restaurants) appreciate.
It’s easy to question why we should succumb to some commercialized holiday just to say thanks to mom. But, then again, why not? Why not take a day to give the simple gift of thanks to someone who spent years raising us? Why not set aside a few moments in our busy lives to celebrate the person who helped us reach adulthood – relatively unscathed. Reminiscing about her mom, my friend Kristin explained she especially appreciates the fact that her mom continues to be there to listen to all of life’s frustrations, joys and problems. Not necessarily to offer advice, but merely to listen, as sometimes only a mom can.
The act of saying thank you can open a gateway to gratitude. And there is no room in grateful heart for bitterness or resentment. As author M.J. Ryan explains in her book “Attitudes of Gratitude”: “Gratitude is a inner light that we can use to illumine our souls. The more we are thankful, the more light we experience and the more we shine forth into the world.” Or, less philosophically, saying thanks to mom really helps us all – and during these difficult times help from any source is welcome.
Many years ago, I wrote a letter to my mom to tell her that her quiet strength sustained our family. My letter was prompted not by a birthday, or even Mother’s Day, but instead by the sad realization that she would soon lose her battle with cancer. She died shortly thereafter at age 62. Nearly 20 years have passed, and I still miss her. It was good for me to have the chance to tell her thank you, and that I loved her before she died. Funny thing, years later, when cleaning out my parents’ home I found my letter to mom, safely stowed in her bedside table. Like Madison’s poem, tucked away, a gift of thanks that touched her heart. Thanks Madison. Thanks Mom.
Cindy Bargell lives outside of Silverthorne with her husband and two daughters. She is a card-carrying PTSA member, lawyer and part-time gymnastics coach. She welcomes your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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