To Every Thing There Is a Season

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven…
~Ecclesiastes 3:1

It is a tradition peculiar, perhaps, to Appalachia or to the south to wear a red corsage on Mother’s Day if your mother is living, white if she is not. My mother has always worn red. I find myself wondering this morning if she will pin a white flower to her dress. If it will make her cry. It will be her first Mother’s Day without her mother.

This morning my daughter will awaken to a summons from her baby girl. She will nourish her with food from her body. She will gaze into her eyes, stroke her skin, and speak tender words of love. And she will text me another picture. I hope. It is my daughter’s first Mother’s Day as a mommy.

To every thing there is a season…

I linger in the threshold of this day. And my heart is filled with gratitude for the gift of knowing each of these lovely women. My life has been shaped…is being shaped…by each of them.

I remember Sunday lunches at my Grandma Nelson‘s. The table fairly groaned under the burden of more food than we could ever eat. Legendary chicken and dumplings, macaroni and cheese for the kids, the produce of her ample garden, and an assortment of homemade desserts laid out on the freezer for our delight. She spoke frankly. She loved generously. And she poured herself into those she loved. A part of her lives on in each of us.

How do I say thank you to my mom for the gift of story? For selling World Book and Childcraft so we could have our own set. For fairytales, and poems, Brer Rabbit, Jack Tales…. And for music. She it was who awakened my love for the piano and gave me my first lessons. For flowers. Who knew, when I used to tease her about all the time she spent fussing over her flowers, that she was fanning a flame in me…a passion for the beautiful that would lead me into a garden of my own? For loving my children well. For endeavoring to know them. For letting them be who they are. For SO. Much. More…

To my lovely daughter who has taught me more about forgiveness and about loving extravagantly than anyone I know, I am deeply indebted. She has given me the gift of laughter. She has given me new eyes with which to see the world…to see the unseen. She has been to me a mirror that helps me to know myself better. And she has made me want to be better. For her.

And now, into this company of women is born my little granddaughter. Already she is making her presence known. She is opening up parts of my daughter I have never seen. She is teaching me how to love without possessing. And she is making my heart beat quickly for the new that lies ahead of all of us. What beautiful story will she tell with her life? I can hardly wait to find out. She inherits a grand legacy.

To all the mothers and daughters who will read this today, thank you for the sweet essence of femininity that you breathe into your world. Thank you for loving and serving, often silent and unseen. We are all of us better for you.