Last week I received a note from my son’s first grade teacher. She was inviting me to a Mother’s Day Tea and by the way, could I write a poem for my son? Oh, man. Another Mom project, I thought. Can you say corny?
But I wrote it, wondering what the other moms would do. Would they all write something? Would they all show up? Would we be rewarded with good food at least, for our efforts?
Well. Let’s just say I cried all the way through the Mother’s Day Tea. I was so completely taken listening to the moms read to their children. And the stories that were told in verse. Wow. The mom whose first son had died and who now found healing in her second son. The mom who made the clever rhyme comparing her son to an ice cream cone. The mom who’s afraid to read aloud to the class for fear of stumbling, but found the courage to read a loving ode to her daughter in front of almost fifty people.
I’m moved by the moms in my son’s class. I am moved by the poetry in their souls. I loved this Mother’s Day celebration more than any other so far. I thank my son’s teacher, Angela Cerchio, for asking me to do corny and for giving me the chance to open my heart.
Ten years ago, my mother lay in a hospital bed uncertain of her future. She had contracted a serious staph infection during back surgery and her kidneys were failing. She was taking mega doses of steroids that made her feel crazy. She could hardly move, her thoughts were all over the place and she didn’t seem to be recovering. We were worried. She was newly widowed, and I’m sure there were days she just didn’t want to go on. Was there anything my siblings and I could do to cheer her up? Anything we could give her that would make her feel loved? Anything at all to get her out of that hospital bed and home?
We hit upon the idea of The Mom Jar. Each of us wrote down memories of our mom. We wrote about the small ways she had helped us over the years. And we wrote about the big ways she’d influenced us. We reminded her of moments she had probably forgotten, but lived on in our hearts. Each memory went on a little slip of paper that we rolled up and put into a jar. We gave it to her on Mother’s Day and she kept it by her hospital bed, reading the little slips over and over.
Slowly, very slowly, she got better. She went home and after awhile she started walking again. Ten years have passed. She’s now a vibrant, healthy person. She spends every other weekend with my family and me, loving us, caring for us, and making us laugh.
And every day she gives us more memories for the Mom Jar.