LESLIE CRISS: Good mothers offer wise lessons that last a lifetime

By Leslie Criss/NEMS Daily Journal

“Grown don’t mean nothing to a mother. A child is a child. They get bigger, older, but grown? What’s that suppose to mean? In my heart it don’t mean a thing.”
– Toni Morrison, “Beloved,” 1987

“No matter how old a mother is, she watches her middle-aged children for signs
of improvement.”
– Florida Scott-Maxwell

A basket of gerbera daisies hangs just outside the wide windows overlooking my deck. I have a fair view of the dangling flower pot as I sit at my computer.
The daisies have stopped blooming for some reason, but there will soon be new life.
This past Wednesday morning I noticed the bright green leaves moving, but no breeze blew.
Watching closely, I noticed a mama wren dive into the daisy dregs, her beak filled with pine straw from my neighbor’s yard.
She’d stay a second or so, then fly away – only to return momentarily with more nest-making material.
Appearing once or twice was a male wren, his own beak bearing building supplies, leading me to believe him to be a benefactor – if not the father – of the baby-birds-to-be.
But it was the mama wren who built, with a seemingly single-minded purpose, a first home into which her fledglings will be born.
That’s what good mothers do.

Giving thanks
And today’s the day we celebrate all good mothers and thank them for all they’ve done for us.
I’m grateful for my own mother, who is getting her strength back after some scary health issues earlier this year.
My friend Cheryl has made me aware of how blessed my sister and I are to still have our mother. She lost her own three years ago. For her six children, the hole left by Barbara remains empty, the broken hearts not yet mended. And though it could never be the same, I gladly share my own mother with Cheryl.
I asked her what lesson she treasures most from her mother, besides “With the right shade of lipstick and accessories, you can wear anything.”
After consulting with one of her sisters, Cheryl decided the most important lesson from her mom was to treat all people – no matter their social or economic status – with dignity and respect.
An artist from Arizona, my mother has taught my sister and me to value differences in people, to dance with diversity rather than deplore it. It is, perhaps, her greatest lesson to us.
I’ve been without my paternal grandmother for some time now. I miss her and treasure her teachings, like “Always look on the bright side.” “The truth is always better than a lie.” “What goes around comes around.” “Be kind.”
On Thursday morning that mama bird had finished making a place to lay her eggs and await the hatching of new life.
Soon, with the same beak that built their birthing place, Mama Wren will feed her baby birds. Then she’ll teach them to fly and one day leave the nest to soar independently.
That’s what good mothers do.

Contact Leslie Criss at leslie.criss@djournal.com or (662) 678-1584.