Susan Badeau

There are only two lasting gifts we can give our children - one is roots, the other is wings

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Mothers Day reflections

Posted by Sue Badeau on May 11, 2013 at 9:15 AM

Its Mother’s Day weekend and I am feeling overwhelmed and somewhat awed by tidal waves of complex emotions rolling in over and around me as I contemplate the many hues and fragrances in my “Mother’s Day Bouquet”. It is filled with blossoms that reflect both joy and pain, laughter and tears, new delights and fond memories. I’ll describe the flowers in my bouquet one by one.


 First – a bold, regal sunflower for my own mom. Mom it is hard to believe this is now the 8th Mother’s Day since you have been gone. I still miss you and I still have those moments when I just want to call you and share with you a story or moment in my life or get your ideas or advice. We sometimes were sandpaper to each other, but there was always love, loyalty and so many great memories – thank you and I love you – always.


And of course, a daisy in my bouquet for my mother-in-law, Delvina Badeau – a simple unpretentious flower that has always been one of my favorites, it perfectly reflects my love for you. You were a loving second mother to me from the time I was 15 years old! Mamere, we all miss you, but the memories we have of you often bring a smile to our face, even now, I can hear you asking me if I “want some soup?” . . . . . You were one of the best examples of unconditional love.


Here is a rose for my sisterhood of other mothers who have shared the unspeakable experience of losing a child, and who, in spite of that deep wound-that-never-heals, each of these amazing moms continues to lead a life filled with meaning and purpose, redoubling their efforts to make this world a better place for all children. In memory and honor of my precious sons Wayne, Dylan and Adam, and great-granddaughter Nalana I salute the many other moms I know who have lost children – Mothers Day hugs, love, prayers and gratitude for each of you, sweet “sister-moms”.


Here are lilacs for my children – everyone of you, whether you joined my family through birth, adoption or marrying one of my sons and daughters – you give me the challenge, the joy, the privilege of being a mom every day and you have kept me young while aging me at the same time! You teach me, you enrich me, you make me crazy, and I can’t imagine a single moment without each of you in my life. I love you more than every drop of water in all the oceans and seas!!!


Here are blue forget-me-nots for the strong, loving, courageous birth mothers who have given life to their children twice, once by birth and a second time by allowing them to be lovingly raised in adoptive families. I will never forget you – each of the birth mothers of the children I have been blessed to raise, as well as all of the other birth mothers I have been privileged to count as friends, loved ones and colleagues. With much love and gratitude to each of you today.


Bright pink azaleas for my sisterhood of mothers who are living with, loving, caring for and understanding the preciousness of children who have graced our lives with extreme and severe challenges – in the world often called “disabled” or “special needs” but in our hearts we know them as delightful, charming, often quirky, loving and precious additions to our families and lives and we would never be the same without them. Watching them suffer and struggle cuts us to the quick, but watching them smile, and achieve moments of victory brings us indescribable joy. So many of the moms who are in my life are part of this special sisterhood and you have each enriched my life beyond measure.


Bold, sturdy and multi-colored tulips for all the foster, adoptive, kinship moms and “moms of the heart” who have stepped up and stood in the gap to care for children not born to them, children who have often experienced unimaginable trauma in their own lives, children who they know they will always be sharing with at least one other mother. You are sometimes “mom” for a day, a week, a month, a year or a lifetime, but always you are willing to put 100% of your heart and soul into all the mothering you do . .. . You are my friends, my comrades, my heroes . . . I love you all!


Sprightly daffodils for my sisters, Nancy and Stephanie and other special sisters like Irene and Abby Sandler and aunts and grandmothers and all the other women, like Deborah at our church and others like you in every faith community, who have continually been there to share your fellowship, friendship, support and caring for children in your family, church, neighborhood and community as advocates, Girl Scout leaders, coaches, Sunday school teachers, mentors and friends . . . .


Speaking of grandmothers – what a joy it is to be a grandmother (and great-grandmother)! Some of my sweetest moments over the years have been brought to me by my delightful grandchildren who I love with all of my heart. Such a privilege and responsibility to pass on a legacy of love, hope, joy and faith to another generation. And the sweet notes, sticky hand-prints, bouquets of dandelions and other gifts you bring me, along with the sheer delight and disarming hugs you greet me with whenever I come home are treasures I savor – you pick me up on the lowest of my down days and you make the good days even brighter. Delicate babies-breath, sprinkled throughout the bouquet represent each of you.


I have had the honor and privilege to be a “mom of the heart” to some really precious and special ones over the years – beautiful boys, girls, teens, young men and women who have shared their own hearts and lives with me and every year among the many Mother’s Day greetings I receive several come from you – we are not related by blood, adoption, marriage or any other world-recognized tie, and yet you are inextricably part of my life and my world - thank you for that and for sharing your life with me. Bright purple violets remind me of each of you.


There are definitely some calla lillies in my bouquet for the special friends who have shown up at just the right moment to nurture, encourage and support me – to push me toward my goals, to confront or convict me when needed and to travel with me through times of laughter, tears, secrets, heartaches, milestones, political views, spiritual peaks and valleys, and just all around friendship.


And then there are the spiritual mothers – the women, beginning with my sweet and beloved Aunt Ruth and including many more over time – who planted, watered and nurtured seeds of faith in me, walked the walk with me, taught me, prayed for and with me and held me accountable for staying true to my beliefs – Claudia, and Betsy, Pam and Anne, Starr, and Peggy . . . . . thank you for being so faithful and true . . . Deep blue irises for each of you!


The last flower I will call out is one that remind me of the original purpose of Mother’s Day – it wasn’t only intended as a day to honor mothers, but a day for mothers to stand up and lead the charge changing laws, budgets, attitudes, hearts, minds, and actions so that our world can be a better and safer place for all of our children, for ALL children everywhere . . . . to all the women who are also steadfast and amazing courageous advocates not only for their own children but for other children, I salute you with gladiolas  - each of you are shining examples of the true meaning of Mothers Day – thank you, bless you and carry on!!!! The children of the world still need every ounce of passion and energy we can muster up!

Categories: Building Bridges of Hope

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3 Comments

Reply abigail sandler
6:39 PM on May 11, 2013 
I'm touched by the beauty and sincerity of your words, feelings and expressions of love. You continue to touch my heart with your never-ending, vast reservoir of compassion and understanding for those less fortunate, especially those children in need of a gentle, loving shoulder, hug and tender words. You are a beautiful, rose among us, spreading your love, generationally for all those lucky enough to cross your path. May God Bless, and you have the very Best Mother's Day, yet, xox
Reply Gee-Gee S
6:39 PM on May 12, 2013 
What a beautiful tribute to the many "moms" you have known, and, for the multitude of roles that help to define "mom". I love your "sandpaper" reference to your own mother. I have difficulty putting into words my relationship with my own mother, but that certainly helps me. I wish I was an artist so that I could paint the lovely bouquet that you describe. Thank you for your word pictures and expressions of love.
Reply Sue Badeau
7:21 AM on May 13, 2013 
Abby and Gee-Gee, thanks so much for the thoughtful comments. Gee-Gee you are right, there are often complex emotions and a painting would capture it even better than words! Hope you both had a beautiful day yourselves! Happy Monday!