Today is Mother’s Day here in the United Kingdom. Mine are all grown up now with children of their own. I was busy for a while, with 3 daughters under 3 and then twin boys arrived…so I ended up with 5 children under 7, our farm to help run and a hectic schedule leaving me little time to ponder anything much other than groceries, playgroups, school schedules and nappies.
Today all those years on is very different. We had a sharp frost overnight and the sky is blue with not a cloud in the sky. At 8 am my own mother now aged 89 rang to thank me for her card and present, and tell me what a wonderful daughter I am, how blessed she is to have me and my sister and how much she loves us. My father aged 93 made her breakfast.
I opened my cards leisurely with a cup of coffee. The house is quiet. My choices as to what to do today are largely my own other than a lunch out with my husband, a lovely treat. So I went for a walk in the woods on the hill nearby, smelling the fresh earth and scent of the Spruce, the Scots Pine. To my delight I heard first one woodpecker, then his mates reply…one either side of the track, hidden in trees but still well aware of each other. And I thought of how that remains the truth for us “grand”mothers; no longer frantically paddling just to keep our heads above water, with the noise of youngsters fretting, arguing and playing; we now walk at a slower pace, yet remain attached to our children, no matter how old they are or how far away they live from us.
When we gave birth to them, we did not have our children to hang onto them or keep them forever by our sides. We offered them the opportunity of life, to live as they choose, as they must, making the most of the potential within themselves each and every day. We fretted and worried over them, we sat by their beds soothing their brows, we commiserated over errant boyfriends and girlfriends, we chewed our nails to the quick as they went out on motorbikes and then cars, never really sleeping until we heard that door click safely, telling us they were back. We defended them and tried to guide them, ignored the hurts and accusations they hurl at us of “not understanding” them. We ignored the “you love them more than me” accusations, gently reiterating that we love them all the same. And I thought how Godlike that all is. God gave us all the opportunity to live, and to do what we will how we will, hoping we come home safely and negotiate all the dangers and pitfalls that freedom involves. We rant and rail at God, sulk in corners trying to ignore or hide, we think we know best, take a tumble in life and then wail loudly at how unfair it all is. And God just stays calm and constant, soothes our brow, mends the hurts and then pushes us gently in the direction of the door again. Like the woodpeckers, we are always connected, the call, the answer and the safety of knowing we are never lost.