Sunday, May 14, 2017

madonna and child

Today we celebrate our mothers.

Editorial writers across the country will conjure up abstract notions about the women in our lives. Hallmark will sell its ditties that are almost as universal -- to be accompanied a rainbow of candy, balloons, and flowers. As if we were celebrating some distant earth goddess rather than the one at hand.

Most mothers' days, I would be doing the same thing. But this day is different. I am not going to rely on some long-distance florist to wish my mother a happy mothers' day. I will do it in person.

Usually, I am either in Mexico (where mothers' day is always celebrated on 10 May) or on the road. This year, I am still on the road, but on the road where my mother lives.

One day is simply too confining to celebrate her. Before we left for Portland on Friday, I gave her a bouquet from a local florist. And, of course, there was the greatest gift of all: meeting Charlotte. (The photograph is courtesy of Sara, her mother.) Yesterday, I updated Mom's Kindle to a side-lit Paperwhite. And today? Darrel and I will spend time with her. Time is always one of the most precious gifts we can give anyone.

Rather than weave a tapestry of words for all she has done, I will leave it at this. The love you can see in my mother's eyes as she held Charlotte reflects the love she has shown to Darrel and me all of our lives. During the hubbub of modern American life, it is easy to forget that. Mainly, because what we have always had is easy to take  for granted.

As silly as I find most holidays, this is one that really matters. It gives us an opportunity to pause and consider the blessings we have in our lives that are the direct result of our mother's sacrifice. Darrel and I are very fortunate that Marilyn Munro Cotton gave us birth, provided us with maternal love, and taught us to be the independent souls we have become.

But what she has done for us is not why we are celebrating. That would be far too narcissistic -- even for me. We celebrate her for her strength, her faith, and her presence. For her virtues.

That is why the image of the Madonna and child is so powerful. From a faith perspective, the image has always been a bit jarring to me. The child, who should be the religious focus, always plays second oboe to his mother.

And maybe that is the way it should be. Stripped of its religious significance, every Madonna and child is always about the mother. Our mother.

Sara caught the essence of that relationship in her photograph of Mom and Charlotte. All of these words pale in comparison.

So, I will leave it at that.

Happy mothers' day, Mom. We love you.

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