~ Best Mum of All ~
Little paint fingers up against the wall.
Little paint fingers, so perfect so small.
Often you tell me the wall is not the place,
then you turn your head to hide the smile on your face.
Eyes open wide as adventures are told,
imagination so sure, so vivid, so bold.
You listen in carefully, crouched down to get near,
your eyes full of wonder, though my words aren’t quite clear.
Yellow sour sobs given with love and affection,
though a pest to a gardener, to a child they are perfection.
With a look of surprise you show your delight,
as you say I love you too, and hold me tight.
The wonder of my footprints in the sand.
The love I feel as you hold my hand.
The fun when you tickle me, the smile on your face.
The laughter we share as we each give chase.
The knowing smile as you see my painted hand upon the wall.
These things to you may seem so tiny and small.
I’ll remember these things as I grow big and tall,
But more than anything I’ll remember,
you were the Best Mum of All.
Written by Rebecca Rawson
Copyright © 2002
I wrote this poem for Mother’s Day what feels like a life time ago, when Joel and Ethan (our two youngest boys), were attending child care during the days that I worked from home.
This poem was used as a gift for the mother’s of the children who attended that child care centre with Joel and Ethan, each child drawing around the poem on the page and leaving a paint stamped hand-print to remind their mums in years to come of just how small their hands once were, their little paint fingers up against the wall.
Now, having grown children, the words I wrote all those years ago hold so much more value.
As a mum I often felt like all I did was yell at my boys, correct them and dish out punishments to bring their strong willed natures into line. —And yet, looking at each one of my children as grown men, their lives, who they have become as adults and who they are as vastly different individuals, along with collectively as brothers and a family … I can’t help but feel that somewhere in all the dysfunction of blended family chaos and heartbreak there must have been something I did right to have the privilege of their love and the unique relationships that I share with each one of them.
Becoming a grandmother has also brought a whole new meaning to this poem as I watch the ladies that our boys have brought into our lives and our family become mothers themselves. Watching these ladies become mothers, through the wonder and excitement of pregnancy, to the most challenging times of toddler taming and concern of illness; the bond and love to be seen is an amazing gift.
And of course, being a grandmother, rather than the mother, also allows the smiles and laughter to flow a tad more easily and relaxed when little paint fingers are place up against the wall.
While I hardly think of myself as the best mum of all, for so many reasons that I wish were not the reality of the mother I so often know I was raising boys in a blended family, I am learning that those little things, so tiny and small, really were noticed as my boys grew oh so big, strong and tall.
My thoughts on Mother’s Day however, I don’t tend regard Mother’s Day with any great significance other than showing appreciation to my own mum because it is the tradition I was brought up with.
Personally, Mother’s Day has always been a great source of pain for me because motherhood was far from the dreams and expectations I had long held before the reality of life and blended family drama kicked those dreams and expectations to the curb.
Generally speaking too, the other sad reality is that many women who long to be mothers, who would be amazing mothers through the very nature of who they are, are tragically denied the gift and privilege of motherhood for reasons that will often never be known, much less understood. —Then of course, there are those mothers who have suffered the greatest loss any mother can, their child. A loss which no one else can understand except those who have experienced the same loss, and no doubt a loss that for some, maybe not all, would make a day such as Mother’s Day all the painful.
No, Mother’s Day for me is but another consumeristic hallmark celebration, that may have been born out of something good, but evolved to satisfy the greed of consumerism. Which even it’s own founder, Anna Jarvis, viewed as repugnant to the point of regretting the day’s creation.
But aside from consumerism, I have also seen the day used as a manipulative and guilt-tripping medium to fill churches and place pressure on family members to overlook the realities of toxic relationships. Feelings of obligation giving way to the need to feign respect to a person who doesn’t necessarily deserve any respect. Pressure to attend church on a day that naturally evokes heightened emotion, a person who might not otherwise normally attend church succumbing to manipulation and guilt-trips to attend while at their most vulnerable.
No doubt, Mother’s Day will eventually fade into the background as nothing more than a page in history, much to the satisfaction of it’s late creator.
Nonetheless, Mother’s Day does at least highlight the gift and privilege of motherhood, as well as the acknowledging all that a mother does, imparts and is. —And while I share this poem as a nod to Mother’s Day I think it is more fitting that this is a poem for everyday. A reminder to mothers of the small things each child will remember, a reminder to each child of the small things their mother will always cherish, and the ties that bind the two together, no matter whether the relationship is healthy or strained.