Mother’s Day


My mother loved celebrations.

Mother’s Day is perfectly gorgeous here in western Massachusetts: perfect May weather. Our early lilacs are brightening up the landscape, and a few apple blossoms and daffodils remain.

In church this morning our minister, Cara, suggested everyone quietly name a mother who deserved remembering on this special day. I mentioned my mother, Jan (a.k.a. Taffy) and then heard my neighbor Alice softly say the name of her own mother.

Alice’s mother Mary Parker (whom we all called Gam) was a grandmother figure to all of us children in the neighborhood, one of the strong inspiring women of my youth. She was admirable, funny, and fierce.

Hearing that name made me think of so many other mother figures I celebrate today, including Gam.

I recalled my own grandmothers, Clara and Sarah, as well as my beloved aunts, Lura, Selma, and Connie.

I recalled my godmothers, Kay (who was named poet laureate of the state of Delaware) and Dody (who SHOULD have been named poet laureate of French film and key-lime pie). Both went to college with my mother.

I recalled my mother’s other close college chums—smart, fun women who taught me a lot about female friendship: Sylvia, Riley, Giff, and Bobby.

I recalled my mother’s other smart close friends: her partner in business, Claire; her partner in singing, Bobbie; and her partners in bridge and neighborhood gossip, Randy and Annie.

I also recalled some of the female teachers who have made a difference to me: Helen, who taught Sunday school and encouraged my personality (not that it needed a huge amount of encouragement); Bebe and Ma’am, my second- and fourth-grade teachers in two very different corners of the world; Penny, who taught me to play chords on the piano and to love music always; and Desley, Shelley, and Janet, who helped me survive graduate school.

It made me sad to realize that of all of these women only a few survive. Most of the teachers are still around, and my Aunt Lura is still with us. My mother, our other relatives, and most of my mother’s friends (except for the redoubtable Claire and Bobbie) are gone.

Nevertheless, my overall feeling was and is one of celebration that I am lucky enough to have been cradled by so many remarkable women over the course of my life.

I hope to continue to find mother figures as I age. (Someday I will have to turn 40.) And I hope to serve as a surrogate mother to others in their life journeys.

I realize that most of my readers are busy celebrating Mother’s Day today—but if you’re reading this at any time please take a moment to leave a comment below naming a mother figure who has helped shape you.

Writing her name and recalling her influence on you will make you feel mothered all over again. I promise!

Happy Mother’s Day … today and every day.

Esther, our church choir director, send these lovely roses home with me today in memory of my mother.

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15 comments on “Mother’s Day

  1. Faith says:

    Today I honor the memory of my mother, Jane Montgomery, who died not quite a year ago. Last Mother’s Day I prepared her favorite meal (meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and cooked carrots) as a special treat for her. She was already receiving hospice care, and we knew we didn’t have much more time together. She was my best friend; and when she died, a light was extinguished in my world. Bye, Mom, and thanks.

  2. jody says:

    my mom Rarie Dye who — while bossy! — let me flourish in many directions and for all the caring she has done to help others especially in their education(s) and all the support she gives to help animals. She was a single mom, MY single mom who showed me more than i ever realized

  3. Cindy says:

    My best friend’s mom, Patricia Manning, and my own mom, Mary.

  4. Cara Hochhalter says:

    Dear Tinky,
    Thank you for these recollections of such wonderful women in your life!
    I named my mother, Mary, who loved life and laughter and a good book. I also named my daughter, Anna…just because I love her so and without her, I wouldn’t be a mother.
    Love and peace…

  5. Nancy Bischoff says:

    I honor my mother, Margaret Sandeberg Bischoff, and my grandmothers, Maria Sandeberg and Sophie Bischoff. And I couldn’t forget “the redoubtable Claire,” Claire J. Roth, my best friend since 1983.

  6. Gaye says:

    …. and my own mother, Blanche, who would have been 100 in March, and who put up with so much. Miss you and still need you, Mother.

  7. Anna says:

    My late mother Kyllikki Kleinschmit von Lengefeld (born Raami) who mothered 7 of us, her own brood, along w close friends throughout her 84 years on this earth. From Karelia to Dingeringhausen she worked and mothered 100% leaving us now to carry on with her determination, work and love for every day.

  8. Linda Petersen says:

    I’m thinking of my mom~~~Alice & my grandma Millie~~~both gone to heaven but ever present in my heart. They were around me from the time I was born. My other “mothers” were other relatives & teachers. Thank you Tinky for sharing your thoughts & the adorable picture of Taffy! She just has that look of a pixie thinking of something to get into~~~:0)

  9. David Smith says:

    Hi Tinky,
    I have to say that my mother Lura and your mom were probably the key ones I remember. Our grandmother Clara and her sisters Alma and Charlotte were more distant–perhaps being a grandson rather than a granddaughter, but when I read the story of their lives, it made me appreciate them much more than before.

  10. Molly says:

    “Neighbor Alice” is my mother, and Gam my grandmother – both of whom have influenced and supported me strongly, through the (different!) examples they provided and their (same!) unconditional love. My other grandmother, Molly Pyle, whose name I bear, I didn’t have much contact with, but I remember her as a very gentle person and the sender of delicious boxes of homemade fudge at Christmas. The mothers of my childhood friends are also fondly remembered, as well as the moms I babysat for in my teens. And last, but not least, my wonderful mother-in-law, Jarka Kaderavkova, who has the patience of a saint – and a very wicked sense of humor!

  11. Debbie Posmontier says:

    Thanks, Tinky, for stirring me on to remember my “other” mothers. My mother, Josephine (92), and her sisters, Lucia (94) and Elizabeth (89) are all still very present and active. They are the pillars of our family and I feel very blessed to have them in my life. There are many other women who have shaped and molded my life and I am grateful to have known them!

  12. Nara says:

    Dear Tiny,
    I remember my mother,a wonderful,loving person,who showed me the way,so I could be everything that I am today.I remember Jan,a wonderful woman to who I gave my heart to.Surely Jan and my mother are both angels in heaven illuminating our path on earth.

  13. Doris Matthews says:

    Oh, I love that “cradled by so many remarkable women…” My mom, Lucille and my two grandmothers, Emma and Eva. Yes, they taught me much!

  14. harry Scott Boggs says:

    So very nice to stay in this loop of friends…you all are so kind up there! My Rocky Mountain family was here in Orlando to honor Mom Betty—for about two hours, then they went off to theme parks and the beach (like they were escaping us lepers or something). If they had stuck around, I would’ve reminisced heartily about Grandma Burnett of Dayton, OH (passed in 1971; had it pretty hard). Also, I’d want to honor “Grandma Gatewood” of the Appalachian Mountain Club (never met her personally. Also gone for several decades)…she hiked the Appalachian Trail in sneakers. TWO OR THREE TIMES! Big mentor of mine. Boy, so many great moms! Berkeley’s Jesse Beagle, 85 “years young”, just had her first poetry book published by Allen Ginsburg’s colleague H.D. Moe. “Poetry in Jazz”, on Beatitude Press…Spring, 2012. Kudos to her (she lost her son at Jonestown, Guyana, in 1978 with most of the People’s Temple congregation. Tough tales from her lips. Tough lady).

    • tinkyweisblat says:

      I feel so rich to have had this lovely litany of people to honor!

      Faith, I hope someone made you meatloaf for Mother’s Day.

      Jody, bossy works for moms; yours sounds amazing.

      Cindy, best friends’ moms certainly count!

      Cara, how lovely to have a daughter and a mother together.

      Nancy, let’s raise a glass to them all.

      Gaye, how dear.

      Anna, your mother was indeed amazing.

      Linda, I believe it was an extra-sweet caipirinha, and she certainly enjoyed it!

      David, I can’t believe I forgot the Great Aunts; thank you for mentioning them–Aunt Alma, soft as a pillow, and Aunt Charlotte, as lively and strong as they come.

      Molly, what a group you have there. And I should have mentioned that your mother looks after me a lot of the time, too! Thanks for honoring her and the rest.

      Debbie, please treasure them for all of us.

      Nara, how lovely to hear about your mother–and thank you for thinking of her and dear Jan together!

      Doris, I love their names.

      Harry, what a great-sounding group. As for the family, they clearly don’t know what they missed not hanging out with you and Betty.

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