Mother’s Day: What It Means to Me — I’ve Watched You Grow So I Could Let You Go

I wonder how many of us come to Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, thinking, ‘if I could, I would?” I do this any time I am thinking seriously about my children. The song in the video below expresses just about everything that being a Mom is about. Today, my family and I are celebrating the one Mom we have left, which is mine. She is 92, and lives a full life. She has her challenges. She has been certified legally blind, although she has some sight, and since she lives in a one-story Assisted Living Center, she gets around very well there. She knows her territory. She recently had to give up bridge due to her sight, but can play pitch, dominoes and bingo (she has her three cards memorized). Her mind is strong, her balance delicate, she walks with a walker, which she refers to as “Walter” and she keeps those around her laughing, as she always has a good joke ready. I want her hairdresser, who is on-premise where she lives, to know how much I appreciate her. She keeps Mom looking beautiful, and is a friend as well, and also a Mom. So many of the staff where Mother lives are mothers too. What a wonderful group of women she is surrounded with — so caring, so friendly, so funny, and so efficient. I’m thinking of all them today, some of whom are on duty, as well as others preparing a special dinner for families, served in the loveliest of dining rooms. In fact, on Friday, I attended their annual Mother’s Day Tea, with sweet little tea cups, finger sandwiches, yummy little cream puffs and fruit and cheese.


We are also celebrating the life of my beautiful mother-in-law. Due to her illness, she no longer knew when Mother’s Day rolled around, or birthdays, or Christmas, but she never gave up. She walked on her own until the last week, and she never stopped trying to help those around her, most of whom were wheel-chair or bed-bound. We fondly remember the times she tried to get them ‘up-and-walking,’ because she knew that it was always good to walk, and knew what happened when you didn’t. The wheelchair alarm would sound, and the staff would arrive quickly. We couldn’t know what she would be thinking at those times. How could she know that these people could no longer walk, when all she wanted to do was help them be healthier, and people she liked were stopping her? To the end, with no memory of anything, she knew her son and daughter, and showed grace to her caregivers. We consider that a miracle, as did the staff. When I came into the family, she and my father-in-law just loved me as if I were their own. I’ve never known two kinder people than my hubby’s Mom and Dad.

My Mom has not been able to read for quite a long time. We were recently told about a wonderful service the library provides for those with low or impaired vision. They shipped her a “player” and two books on tape. We didn’t have a list of books to choose from so I gave them some of her favorite authors. She was stunned when she read Elie Wiesel’s Night a few years ago, so I put his name on the list. She received A Mad Desire to Dance, which was a bit much for her, so this wonderful service provides the box and the labels for returns. She shipped it right off, knowing she will receive more in just a few days. But she also received James Michener’s Centennial, and now she is “reading” throughout the day and loving it. As you can imagine, when you really can’t see the TV, and mainly can only recognize voices, television can get old fast. You can only play pitch, poker and dominoes so many times, throughout the week, so I am grateful for this library service (I’m wearing out “grateful,” I know it, can’t find a better expression).

I am especially blessed that my Mother can chat about the things in her day, tell me about her friends and look forward to our times together. She can keep up with the grandchildren and with the “greats,” and she remembers them all. We end almost every conversation with her telling me, to tell hubby, that she loves him. And she really does, just as he loves her and appreciates her caring nature, her wit and he is awed by her bridge game. With my Mom and hubby’s Mom, once-upon-a-time, we had the best pies on the face of this earth. Coconut cream and chocolate — unbelievable!

This brings me to me — also a Mom but not a good pie maker — a very blessed mother of three with two stunning granddaughters. Our son has very recently married, and so for the first time, I have a daughter-in-law, a very beautiful, loving and talented, daughter-in-law. My two girls are my step-daughters, and I love them as if they were blood. I could not have asked for sweeter, kinder or more caring, delightfully fun daughters in my life for all these many years.

When my son was born, just a few days later, I was up late with him, sitting in a rocking chair watching a St. Jude’s telethon and cuddling this little miracle who weighed in at 9lbs 4oz. Y’all know that emotions are running high when you have a newborn, and so watching these children, who were so tenderly cared for by the St. Jude Center, but so very, very ill, was something I should not have been doing.

Then the worst happened. Local television broke in with the news about the Girl Scout murders. Three little girls murdered on their first night at Girl Scout camp, a rainy night, not very far from our home. I didn’t know until the next day, that the father of one of the girls was a long-time friend and business associate of my husband. I sat there for a very long time, and rocked and cried and prayed that if I could just live long enough — just long enough — to raise my son, I would consider it the greatest blessing of my life, right behind giving birth to him.

When my little boy was nearly grown, Barbra Streisand released her Higher Ground album. This was before I knew her politics (so give me a break, please). On the album was the song, If I CouldWhen I first heard it, I thought of all three of my children, and I thought it might have been written just for me, because if I could have written it, I would have written it. When I listened to it earlier today, I still cried — one particular place that gets me every time. The lyrics are below the video. I’m warning you, especially, if you have children still at home, you’ll probably never forget this song — or who knows, maybe you’re not the sappy Mom that I am.

Happy Mother’s Day to all my friends, cyber-included, and family. I hope you have your own precious memories to celebrate today.

Barbra Streisand – If I Could (video)

“If I Could”

If I Could
I’d protect you from the sadness in your eyes
give you courage in a world of compromise
yes I would
If I could
I would teach you all the things I’ve never learned
and I’d help you cross the bridges that I’ve burned
yes I would
if I could
I would try to shield your innocence from time
but the part of life I gave you isn’t mine
I’ve watched you grow
so I could let you go
if I could
I would help you make it through the hungry years
but I know that I can never cry your tears
but I would
if I could
if I live in a time and place where you don’t want to be
you don’t have to walk along this road with me
my yesterday won’t have to be your way
if I knew
how I’d try to change the world I brought you to
and there isn’t very much that I can do
but I would
if I could
if I could
I would try to shield your innocence from time
but that part of life I gave you isn’t mine
I watched you grow so I could let you go
if, if I could
I would help you make it through those hungry years
but I know that I can never cry your tears
but I would
if I could
yes I would
yes I would
if I could

Read The Tinkling of Chimes Dancing in the Wind, a beautiful tribute to a brave and loving Mom from a strong and loving daughter.

Read a true story of a teacher encouraging children in a Mother’s Day project, and what happened to one young girl who had been orphaned.

Linked at Grumpy Opinions with a Mom’s day post, What is a mother?

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  • PoliticalClownParade

    A beautiful post by a very beautiful lady. All God’s blessings to you and all the other “steel magnolias” in the world. Happy Mother’s Day!

    • PoliticalClownParade, thank so much, and thank you for all you do. If you are a Mom, I hope this is a great day for yo. I love the “Steel Magnolias” and I stole it 🙂

  • Geo

    Happy Mothers Day Maggie and to all the Mothers out there. Hope you have a wonderful day. Enjoy!

  • Fixall

    Happy Mother’s Day to you, and to ALL of the Mothers out there.

  • Pingback: Mother’s Day: What It Means to Me — I’ve Watched You Grow So I Could Let You Go | Grumpy Opinions()

  • byHisgrace

    Your two FB links are not working Maggie. The Like button works…but the other two do ot…AWESOME AWESOME column.

    • byHisgrace, I noticed that. Don’t know what’s going on. It has happened before, but I never know why. Thank you for trying to “Like.” I appreciate it.

  • byHisgrace

    I fell in love with Streisand when I was 16 years old…a while back…when I picked up her People album, onMaxwell Street (RIP)…so I understand, I can no longer listen to much of her work. This is the song I san to my son when he was a baby in my arms. It laid the foundation for me to let him go when he embraced his way to early independence (West Point pays Cadets; the Cadets pay for their uniforms and computer etc with the funds, so he filed his first income tax at …) and ran with it:

    • byHisgrace, what a beautiful lullabye, I’m sending the link to my niece. I am grateful that I purchased Streisand’s music before I knew who she really was/is. I don’t think any female on earth has a better voice — a different, beautiful voice maybe, but not better. She has a resonance that’s unmatched.