Thursday, May 3, 2012

Celebrating My Mother's Kindness

 I don't know how it got to be May already, but the signs are unmistakable: big yellow bags dirt dotting driveways, the sounds of lawn mowers and that intoxicating smell of fresh cut grass, garden centres springing up in parking lots and early morning walkers and runners celebrating sun and warmth after a long, dark winter. And of course, signs and messages everywhere reminding us to celebrate our mothers. So I've decided to do just that, by inviting friends to write a guest post about how their mothers influenced their perception of kindness. Scattered throughout the month we'll share stories and memories celebrating these amazing women.

I'll begin.

When I sat down to consider how my own mother influenced my perception of kindness I realized that the task I'd given so many friends was not as simple as I imagined. Not that I can't think of innumerable ways in which my mother is kind, there are just too many to express easily.  I have many vivid memories of my mother extending herself to the service of others. Yet it is only through hindsight I recognize her selflessness as acts of deliberate kindness. At the time it was just my mother being herself. For example, although she had four children under 5 at home, and we lived out in the boonies, she took a course to help illiterate adults learn to read and write - then she learned to drive so she could go to their homes. She always took care of neighborhood children and families whenever there was a crisis, all the time, cooking, canning, sewing, for her own.

I'll never forget the summer we spent driving to the west coast (and back), camping (in a tent) along the way. Four kids and a car sick Labrador in a station wagon for three long weeks. Somewhere in the prairies we came across a hitch hiker, my mother told my dad to stop and pick him up - how times have changed :) Well, he must have been desperate because he spent the next four days squeezed into the back seat with us. This was my mother, she could spot a stray soul from a distance. She still can. I love that about her. I love everything about her.

And it probably explains why, at sixteen, I showed up at home with two penniless, french guys who were traveling around the world - without even a call to warn my mother that they were with me. They walked into the restaurant where I was working and I could just sense they needed family. They stayed three days (and for years afterward, we received post cards from them, as their adventures continued).

I guess my mother expressed her kindness best through family. She knows that family is not defined by relatedness, but by relationships. Thank-you Mom.

Last year was my parents 50th wedding anniversary - I love this picture of my Mom

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