We’ve all read this book and felt the confusion of this tiny bird in search of his momma and how happy we were that he was not harmed in his search, and the absolute joy that flooded us when he finally found her.
I think about this book often, and my own search for my mother. I miss my mom who has been gone since Mother’s Day night in 2009. But even as I miss her, all through my life I have been blessed with “mothers” who gladly took me under their wing, metaphor intended. And I’m certain my own children have had their “mothers”, my twinsie for instance, the “fun momma” who took them all out and knew exactly how to make them feel special. Not that I didn’t, but she fulfilled a special need in my kids while I was fulfilling another. In my twinsie, my children found their mother.
There is my own mother-in-law whom I called Mom right away. I loved her from the start, the very first memory of her was walking into her house very late the night before Thanksgiving 1980 after a long drive, and her shaking hot homemade donut holes in a baggy with cinnamon and sugar, and the smell of her house, and the taste of those in my mouth. I knew I wanted to be like her, and she taught me how to cook and we shared maybe a million memories in the kitchen together. In my mother-in-law, I have found my mother.
Through the years I watched the mom who greeted her children and me in her apron with the screen door slamming shut behind us and wonderful smells coming from the kitchen as the radio played Frank and Dean. The house was warm with the scents and heat and humidity and love. In my friends’ moms, I have found my mother.
In the hot dusty town of Climbing Hill, Iowa, my cousin Shelly and I would race into the house on dirty bare feet in search of that perfectly cold water from the metal pitcher in the refrigerator drunk from shiny metal cups that made the fillings in my teeth tingle. Aunt Lynnie would chase us off, chastising us about our dirty feet on her wooden floors so shiny clean that at least once each visit, I would slip on a throw rug and land on my rump. I loved my Aunt Lynnie so much. In her I found my mother.
A couple days ago, I spent the night with my good friend, Janet. She is an angel on earth. That we would be so greatly blessed to be together is like a gift handed down from heaven in God’s own hands. I love sleep overs at Janet’s. I love sitting at the table munching the homemade chocolate chip cookies she makes for me, drinking ice cold Pepsi from the bottle, and playing the card game “golf” (which by the way I kicked her rumpelstiltskin playing) and chicken foot dominoes. In those long hours together that seem to fly like the second hand on the face of a clock, we talk and we laugh, and sometimes we even cry a little.
Her life is so rich with love and loss, and her beauty is that she embraces both and uses them to enrich the lives of others. When I am with her I feel like there is a cocoon around us, it’s like a secret that only we share. In Janet, indeed, I have found my mother.
I’m a grown woman with grown children who is so like that little bird searching for the love of a mother. I am so blessed that at every stop when I have asked in my own way, Are you my mother? They all said yes.