08 May 2013


Photo by Ken Charnock/Getty Images

I've always been rather fascinated by Dr. Angelou's perspective on her mother and grandmother in her 5 part autobiographical  series.  Her new book; Mom & Me & Momgives us a more in-depth view of just how complex the relationship with her mother, Vivian Baxter was and the crucial role her grandmother, Annie Henderson served in providing a bridge that would eventually lead to a reconciliation between them.  My decision to feature her and the book for this Mother's Day comes from a place of understanding that with all the tributes and loving asides; many relationships with our parents and for the sake of this post--our mothers are complicated.  On the far end of the continuum they are daunting as well.  A recent episode of Iyanla Fix My Broken Mom really drives that point home and evokes discomfort in general and for many recollections that continue to fuel bouts of anxiety and neuroses throughout the spring, summer, fall and winter seasons of their lives .  

Dr. Angelou becomes quite philosophical about mothers who can't live up to the idealized version of what they should be during their child's infant, toddler and early adolescent stages.  She further  describes her mother, Vivian Baxter in a loving manner although there were obvious missteps and abandonment during her earlier years.  There is a focus, however, on how her mother stepped up to the plate during her teenage years  when she gave birth to her son, Guy. "Maya admires her unflinching honesty, her strength, and her caring nature, despite her frequent fumbling as a parent". This was absolutely necessary to strengthen her love for her mother, absolve mistakes she made with her own young son and eventually forged a formidable bond that continued until Ms. Baxter's death.  

During my previous posts  on celebrating our mothers; I chose not to fully address the dismal side of motherhood and as Dr. Angelou eloquently relates that we find ways to make the worrisome aspects of our mothers mean something.  Lessons learned and wisdom gained when we find ways to reconcile those complexities especially when female offspring become mothers. 

There are many interesting perspectives on how to celebrate the day and give honor to our mothers. There is an article by Twesigye Jackson Kaguri that focuses on the importance of love and not so much the material gifts that we shower our mothers on that special day.  The relevance of sharing that love with other women whom by happenstance may benefit through service the real meaning of honoring our mothers. The latter is a fitting introduction to The Global Mom Relay  a movement initiated  by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki -Moon to save the lives of millions of women and children by 2015. 

I can't reiterate enough that we should not forget to honor those women who took on the role of mother for so many of us.  She may have been a close family friend, cousin, aunt, grandmother or a stranger with a loving and giving heart.  A magnificent day to all! 

 A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.  ~Washington Irving~


Anonymous said...

Aaaaaah, our mothers! My mom? The good, the bad and the ugly all rolled up into one:)

But I understand she did do her best.

Happy Mothers Day Carolyn! Blessings!

Carolyn said...

"Aaaaaah, our mothers! My mom? The good, the bad and the ugly all rolled up into one:)"

Yes....Indeed...many of us have lived through that or we've observed it. We must try to remember what Maya is so good at stressing..."when we know better--we do better". Many of our mothers and mine included reared us out of what they knew at the time.

And a Happy Mother's Day to you as well. We did a wonderful job with our daughters {I read your posts :-)}and we are reaping the benefits of that well into their adulthood. Bountiful blessings to you!

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