“You’re a Good Mother”

empty nest


My mother’s philosophy on gift giving tends toward the mundane. It was my father, before his death,  who would come up with the “wow” gifts for each of us that would be waiting under the tree on Christmas morning.  My mother supplied the other packages (pajamas, turtlenecks), and would fill stockings with staples – socks, underwear, toothbrushes.  When we asked her what she wanted for Christmas, she answered with her own list of basics -nylon stockings, hand cream, and the perfume she liked best.

I have come to appreciate her style of gift giving. I think of it every time I put on a dress and hunt through my drawers for stockings without runs in them.  I never find any.  I go barelegged or I change into trousers and socks. My mother understood that a wonderful gift is the thing you need to get you through the day.

My mother’s health and memory are now failing and  she doesn’t get around like she used to.  Although she loves being with her grandchildren and likes it when we take her out to restaurants, dining with her presents challenges: her hearing is poor and unless we look right at her and speak directly to her, she interrupts everyone’s dialogue with “What was that? What did he say?”

With her fading memory, she doesn’t remember what she has done or who she has talked to or what her friends are doing these days.  But she has this: she thinks my children are amazing and she loves them.  She tells me, often, what wonderful people they are and then enumerates the reasons why.  And then she tells me that I am a good mother.

When I think about the gifts my mother has given me, I realize that her simple reminder that I am a good mother is perhaps the gift I need most these days.

What gift have you given or received that helped you “get through the day?”

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About Grown and Flown

Parenting from the Empty Nest
This entry was posted in Empty Nest, family, Mother's Day, Motherhood and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to “You’re a Good Mother”

  1. muddledmom says:

    I have to agree that as hard as it is to parent and as easy as it is for someone else to tell you how to do it, what your mother said is more than a precious gift.

    • Anonymous says:

      It’s taken me a while to come around to understanding how very much it means — and that I should have told HER the same over the years….

  2. momshieb says:

    Oh, how beautiful!
    My Mom is in very similar condition, with many of the same struggles. And she tells me very often that I am a good mother. It is the greatest compliment that I could ever receive, especially from her.

    • Anonymous says:

      Thank you–good to know I”m not alone in this! Someone told me a few years ago, when I was voicing some frustration over her health situation (which is partly self-induced, resulting from years of smoking) that all I can do is love her. And it’s true… But I can also be grateful to her.

  3. Teresa Cleveland Wendel says:

    I wish my mom would tell me that. But my daughter has.

  4. amynruhlin says:

    “you’re a good mother”: powerful words from a mother to a daughter. A blessing. Thanks for the reminder. Lovely post.

    • Anonymous says:

      As the mother of sons, I hope I’ll have the bandwidth and grace to say the same to my daughters-in-law some day.


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