Mothers From Around The World

Words go unsaid too many times but that doesn’t mean I don’t notice when you step to the shadows so I can have my day in the sun. You’ve saved portions of food so that I’d have enough to eat when I get home from work. You laboured over the stove when you were so ill it made my whines about my colds seem like tantrums. It is such a struggle in our third world culture to be a woman, wife and of all things, a mother. It is a job that gets the most rocks thrown at, the rocks I have thrown at you to feed my teenage angst. All the hurtful things I have said, you have never held them against me. I am where I am because you believed that being a woman is not a disability, that being Indian is not something to be ashamed of. You taught me the power of following your dreams, not with endless lectures, but by being an example. I have explored the world on the wings of your sacrifices and cheerleading.

You know that day they say will be ours, that everyone will have their day? I know that day will come only because you have built it patiently, rock by collected rock (you never seem to be able to get rid of anything I give you). They will one day look at me and say, look at that woman, doesn’t she look like her mother? It will be the proudest day of my life.

Cupitonians at This Labrynth I Roam

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My mother had a fine palate for music even as a girl. She didn’t grow up with much in Seoul but was cultured in the great Classical composers. So 25 years later when the world-famous Chung Trio was expected to play at Carnegie Hall, Mom didn’t think twice. It was a memory she couldn’t help see through for her kids. So what that she was an immigrant, didn’t know English? She reached deep into the pockets of her waitress apron, a matter of course that the most sophisticated halls of New York should open its doors to her family. She managed piano lessons for her girl. It would be inspirational for her daughter to see a Korean family perform on such an illustrious stage. Kyung Wha played violin and her sister cello, their brother on piano. But I was actually more impressed with the grandeur of the theatre than the performance when Mom kept asking how I liked it. She imagined I had more discernment in music than I did as a ten-year-old. Not many years later, I was listening to one of her favorite pieces, Gounod’s Ave Maria when Mom found me crying helplessly. I couldn’t explain the ache of all the memories, of having watched her work so hard, the feeling of her that welled up and over from the song I always associated with Umma. Twenty-five years later I would play it for my boy. My little musician doesn’t know that someday he will love it even more when it brings back his Umma.

Holistic Wayfarer on A Holistic Journey

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My parents were German emigrants to Australia. I remember lying in the middle of their bed in Sydney, my mother laughing as she tried to teach me to whistle, rain bucketing down outside. I still love hearing rain on a tin roof. After her passing, my father was my next mother. A practical industrial chemist, he made pea and pigs trotter soup in his lab. And brought the huge pot home in the trunk of his car. I still fear the smell of pea and ham soup! When my grandmother came from Germany, the soup got much better. She knitted itchy jumpers with love, and I translated English movie plots into German for her. My Australian stepmother cooks with love: bread, lemon cakes, butterscotch tarts, date cuddle cookies. Cabbage rolls and herring salad for my father – even pea soup. She understands the nostalgic potency of a mother’s cooking. My mother-in-law is quintessential Australia: roses in a crystal vase on a windowsill, chicken veggie soup, the darn lemon tree that’s been dying for ten years she refuses to give up on, the dreadful songs on country radio that were old twenty years ago, the smell of lamb roast wafting through her house. Mothers reach us through the senses into the sense of our soul.

Susan at Putting in a Good Word

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When I was a child Maman sewed most of my clothes. While she hemmed a new summer dress, I had to stand still.

“Parfait,” she declared with a final critical look.

Everything had to look perfect for Maman.

At lunchtime Maman used to dash to the garden, leaving the subtle mix of her eau de toilette and hairspray traceable when I came home from school. She returned with a bunch of fresh parsley she held like a bouquet of flowers. Those agile fingers chopped the herbs and sprinkled them on the tomato salad.

“Taste,” she would urge, pushing a plate in front of me. “Meilleur?”

Everything had to taste better for Maman.

I was so tired of parfait and meilleur that I couldn’t wait for wrong and worse.

It is said a daughter understands her mother when she becomes a mother herself. But it sometimes takes going far away to grasp the significance of rituals and customs mothers pass on. In California, the memory of Maman guided me while I clumsily pinned the hems of my girls’ prom dresses. Now my daughter is planting herbs – cilantro, her parsley.

Bonne Fête Maman!
Happy Mother’s Day!

Evelyne @ Evelyne Holingue

 

 

96 thoughts on “Mothers From Around The World

  1. Reblogged this on evelyneholingue and commented:
    Holistic Wayfarer invited me on her blog in honor of Mother’s Day. I want to thank her for the opportunity. It was great to work together on such a short notice and it is also an honor to find myself with two fellow bloggers as we celebrate our mothers from around the world.

    • I found it interesting to see commonalities among the group, Evelyne. How meaningful tokens that keep us tied to our moms seem to circle back and down through the generations: the gardening, my mom’sAve Maria for my boy, that pea soup Susan’s stepmom made – or remade LOL. Thanks again for offering such a special piece of your history in a way I am proud to share here.

      HMD!

      Xxx
      D.

  2. Reblogged this on 2l2phant and commented:
    ***applauding with huge smiles***

    {I would love to stop time for moments like this too}

    Happy Mother’s Day ❤

    My mom is one of these treasures ❤

    I love you Mom ❤

  3. Melding cultures together as one, you’ve composed a symphony – a musical Mother’s Day Composition for moms around the world. Thank you for sharing this.
    AnnMarie
    When I married (and at her own wedding), my mother – caretaker of a beautiful soprano voice – sang the Ave Maria – it’s locked in my heart forever.

    • Thanks for all of this, Ann. I worked hard on this post and appreciate the reception. Hope you got to visit the others, too. They put in good time and effort. Was it Gonoud’s version? There are several renditions – Mom and I love them all. But the one I mentioned is locked, as you put so well, in my heart in its own recesses.

  4. I am nearing 80 and have been a mother for a long time. Now I am a grandmother and great grandmother too. Your post talked to me. Thanks!

  5. Just beautiful. It’s amazing to stand by and watch my wife create these kind of memories with our boys, memories that I know that the boys will look back (hopefully!) with fondness. The depths mothers will go for their children is boundless. It’s inspiring. Thank you for sharing these heartfelt and passionate tributes to moms.

    Blessings and happy mother’s day!

    Paul

    • Of course your comment is a profound, beautiful tribute in itself, Paul. I can feel how you embraced the stories we presented. Glad they brought your hard-working, creative wife to mind. And thanks for the holiday wishes.

      Diana

  6. Pingback: Mother’s Day Around the World – Evelyne Holingue

  7. I loved my Mother enormously. There was always fun in the home, food on the table and wise counsel delivered in a nurturing way. Her love went beyond our home to any young person from a home where shadows never lifted. She folded them into her embrace and they revelled in the mothering they never received in their own homes. We were so proud of her for doing that. To me she came to mind when I was told of the work of angels.

  8. Happy Mothers Day to you Diana! Reblogged this and enjoyed your story and the others. I read with interest how important music is in your relationships. It’s interesting how we all talk about certain things becoming more important and nostalgic as time passes, as generations mature. Thanks for all your hard work and love all the comments! 🙂

    • “I read with interest how important music is in your relationships.” Reading this, I realized I married a drummer. =) I know, I noticed the interesting threads running through our posts, too. (See my reply to Evelyne.) Running across culture and time. And the power of the senses to call up years and feelings in a moment. Just when you and I were on our final edits, my son went hyper-bloodhound on me, going around sniffing me. He stuck his head and torso in a cabinet I use for my clothes. When asked why in the world he was doing that, he replied, muffled, “I want to smell your clothes.” Was funny bc I was working through your post LOL. Thanks for your lovely piece: my husband laughed.

      Hope the holiday reunion’s going well!! ^^ HMD.

      Xxx

      • That is coincidental, about your son, isn’t it?
        I cooked my mother’s favourite dessert for Mothers Day, orange infused creme caramel. The gesture was appreciated, like a wordless reconciliation when words would be too emotional.
        PS. Your husband must be a good sport, or just be laughing nervously that he hasn’t had to endure potfuls of sticky pea soup.
        Thanks again!

      • The dessert sounds wonderful, S. And I don’t mean just the taste. As to my boy, mmm…don’t think there was much coincidence. He’s a talented drummer and is very sensitive musically. When he was wee thing I played Ave Maria for him, thinking of Mom and wishing to plant the same association in him – and he loved the piece.

  9. These are wonderful tributes. I love how you use your space to showcase other people’s writing. “She understands the nostalgic potency of a mother’s cooking.” Nails it. Thanks.

  10. Pingback: Mothers From Around The World | Putting in a good word…..

  11. This totally resonates with me: “. . .one day look at me and say, look at that woman, doesn’t she look like her mother? . . .”
    Why? Because I never thought I was beautiful until I heard people say this. Then I believed I was beautiful, beautiful like my mum.

    Happy Mother’s Day Diana. Thank you for sharing these rich perspectives with us.

  12. Thanks for sharing your beautiful stories Diana. It’s amazing how the smallest gifts we are given as children become remembered and somehow incorporated into our grown up lives when properly nurtured. 🙂

    • Props to the other ladies as well. =) You said it well, Deb. A paying-it-back and – forward. Thanks for staying with me.

      I hope it was a special weekend and that you are moving through your loss somehow.

      Xxx
      D.

      • Thanks Diana for your kindness. Time is finding a way to rearrange how the heart compartmentalizes love. Happy Mother’s Day to you. 🙂 xo

  13. Reblogged this on This Labyrinth I Roam! and commented:
    Holistic Wayfarer from A Holistic Journey fame had a brilliant idea to compile a tribute to Mother’s from around the world. I know I have been silent for a month on the blog but I thought that despite the craziness of life, it would be a great opportunity to write something for mum, who often gets second place in the war of priorities. I know I’m a day late and I hope the excuse of “everyday is mother’s day” will fly this time. Be sure to also check out the other bloggers tributes to their mums.

    What have you done this Mother’s Day. Tell me all about it!

  14. Diana, I was especially touched about the response you had regarding the music as you recalled how hard your mom had worked so you could have piano lessons etc. I suspect that you have more than made it worth it for her with your appreciation and love.

    Blessings ~ Wendy ❀

    • Well, looks like we both feel the fuzzies, Wendy. I sure appreciate the kind feedback. I’m no virtuoso and do recall Mom’s disappointment when I wanted to quit lessons but she didn’t stay disappointed long. I managed to write music in college and teach piano many years. Playing on the praise team has been one of my greatest joys. The most meaningful redemption lies in the lessons I will be giving my son when he’s ready. I realized last year how far Mom’s gift has run, down to her grandson. Really amazing, given how much she struggled to make ends meet. Thanks so much for listening. It is precious to me that I can tell more of this story to someone else.

      Xxx
      Diana

  15. This post is fantastic. I love how all the experiences from around the world come to share a similar theme. As an immigrant, it is much easier for me to empathize with the posts. Today, I drove a long distance with my mom on the passenger seat, and I was curious about her childhood, so I asked her to tell me the stories again. I asked her what her dream was, and after she had told me, I couldn’t help but to be reminded of how thankful I am of my parents’ sacrifices to provide me the privilege to compete with anybody. Thank you for the post!

    • That’s awesome, Mark. Thanks for letting me know about the car ride. Precious. Our parents are a living treasury of history and surprises. I love how the posts spoke to you for your bicultural upbringing.

    • You don’t have to respond, M. But I thought for obvious reasons that in light of your response here, you would all the more take interest in the following post that’s been up (The Measure of a Woman). Would add to your talk with your mom. Post has my mother’s photo, too. =) Take care.

  16. Mother’s always know best don’t they 🙂 Teared up with that one. Your mother seems like a lovely person, I wish I had someone who could educate me in the arts of classical music ~~ P.S. My mom worked at a fast food restaurant while putting me through piano lessons as well so I totally relate.

  17. Incredibly moving. This is a beautiful ensemble piece. The different voices weave together into a seamless melody. I am carried along on the hymn to motherhood. My heartfelt thanks to you all.

    • I really appreciate the beautiful affirmation of what we put together, Michele. My fellow bloggers put a lot of thought into articulating their heart for their mothers. Will be letting them know your sentiments. And thank you for the follow. Welcome to this amazing community of artists and thinkers. =)

      HW

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