Friday, May 1, 2020

May Day

In my mind, May is a month for mothers. Of course, the second Sunday of the month is traditionally celebrated as Mother's Day, but this is also the month when I first became a mother. So it's only natural for me to consider the many dimensions of mothering whenever May rolls around.

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Today, the first of May, is also May Day, a holiday that has mostly fallen out of favor in my world. My mom used to tell me precious stories about how she and her sister would make little flower baskets from paper, fill them with fresh blossoms from their mother's lilac bush, and secretly hang them on their neighbors' door knobs. 

As a little girl, my heart yearned to follow that tradition. But, at the time, we had no lilac bush and I was much too shy to go up to our neighbors' doors alone, so that tradition never took hold in my life.

I'm sorry about that.

Blooming lilacs also put me in the mind of another sweet memory - the arm loads of the fresh purple flowers that my fellow students would bring into my first grade classroom and present to my teacher. For the journey to school, the stems of the lilac branches had been carefully wrapped in damp paper towels and then waterproofed with plastic wrap or aluminum foil, which Mrs. Newheart would ceremoniously remove before placing the lilacs in a vase on her desk. 

On some spring days, an entire row of lilacs would line her desk and fill our classroom with the irresistible aromas of spring. 

As I admired my own lilacs today - propagated from a sprig of my mom's old Michigan bush - I thought once again of my fellow first-graders and their beautiful bouquets, and a new thought took me totally by surprise. 

Six-year-olds did not go out before school into the cool April morning to trim off those flowers and carefully wrap them for transport to school.

Their mothers certainly were the ones who did that.

I thought to myself, what a wonderfully thoughtful thing that was for a mother to do, to make time in her busy breakfast routine to prepare a sweet surprise for her child's teacher. 

And that, I reminded myself, is exactly the sort of thing that makes mothers so special. 

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For more reminiscing about the lilacs of my childhood, read this:

My Lilacs Are Blooming

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My latest thoughts on mothers and mothering:

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