Kara Swanson's Brain Injury Blog

May 6, 2009

Mother’s Day Is Always Christmas

It was always around this time.  Some years maybe a little earlier; some years, perhaps, a little later.  But around now our Mom would pop out of her bedroom smiling and hand one of us a K Mart bag, proclaiming that she had found that Christmas present she had lost in December.  Fond memory. Smiling here.

In July she’ll have been gone for eleven years and that date always hurts.  No way around that.  But it is always around this time when I think of her so much.

I long imagined  it was because of Mother’s Day week and how much I miss her being gone.  Often I feel so lonely on Mother’s Day when mine is gone and I have no children.  Today, when I was tearing up about her being gone,  something made me realize how much she is still here.

It’s Springtime in Michigan.  Today was one of the most glorious days.  Those flat-out, God it’s great to be alive! days.  Wonderful sunshine.  66 degrees.  Soft breeze boasting of backyard grills fired up and freshly-cut lawns.  And the flowers…

My Mom’s backyard is positively dancing!  Soft sweet petals swirling and twirling in the sunshine!  Without any help from me (I have absolutely no talent in gardening), her apple and cherry blossom trees are singing with color, decorated with robins and cardinals and blue jays.  Her yellow tulips have returned again, just as they have every year since she planted them almost fifty years ago.  Her favorite lilac bush, now stretched taller than the house, literally glows in the dark.  And for a few beautiful mornings this time each year, its lovely fragrance invites neighbors to open kitchen windows, basking.

We’ve all gotten our mothers flowers for Mother’s Day.  Today I realized that my Mom sends them to us every year at this time, reminding us of how much life and love remains after death.  How much beauty and joy come to gently touch our shoulders after heartbreak and loss.  A parent’s love is so strong that not even Death itself can break it.

I never had children that didn’t have fur.  As I’ve gotten older and welcomed my friends’ kids and my brother and sister-in-law’s son and daughter, I have realized and witnessed the kind of absolute love, devotion and sacrifice that maybe I didn’t have the perspective to appreciate enough in my own Mom when I was younger.   And still she sends me flowers…

That’s a Mom.  You can vomit in their hair, carve in the new kitchen table, break a window with a fastball, get caught drinking at the high school dance, cut Valentines out of the lace curtains and a thousand other transgressions and still they are willing to gift you their entire lives.   And even after they’re gone.

We take so much from our mothers.  The best of their recipes, advice, sayings and traditions.  And even in what we bump up against, we take from them what not to take from them.  There is no other relationship like it.

It’s awfully hard when they go…

I wept for my Mom today.  Went right into the ugly cry sitting there in the Kroger’s parking lot.  This weekend I’ll bring her a bunch of her favorite lilacs, clean her headstone and lay them just below her name.  Where I’ve imagined her heart is.  And then I’ll come home and look at that backyard, like a beautiful bowl of delicious fruit, all gloriously colored and intoxicating, and I’ll remind myself that here is where her heart is.  Here.  In all the best that I am.  In all the beauty she has left for me.   And gifts me still.

And I’ll pray that all of you who are mothers and fathers will know how deep and lasting your imprint.  Even when those kids of yours might line your face, empty your pockets, steal your sleep and gray your hair…

Just as you breathed life into them, you will live in them long after you go.  They’ll see your expressions in the mirror.  Feel your voice in their hearts.  Hear your advice when they give it to their own kids.  Cherish and pass down your traditions.

All that you offer them, hope for and give them…won’t be lost.  Won’t be for naught.  They’ll learn, one sweet day, that parents make Christmas in May.   That parents make Christmas every day. 

Happy Mother’s Day.



  1. How beautiful! Made me cry. Thank you.

    Comment by Linda — May 6, 2009 @ 9:31 pm | Reply

    • Thank you. 🙂

      Comment by karaswanson — May 6, 2009 @ 11:44 pm | Reply

  2. Hi Kara,
    This is wonderful. Is it OK to send it on to some other folks? I know Grammie would love it, and my friends too. This is wonderful!

    I am fortunate enough to have Forget-me-nots from my original garden, which was Grandma Hannah’s garden. I had given starts to friends, and when I moved back to the West, they shared back with me. I was also able to share with my daughter — she had them in her wedding. Grandma Hannah was 4ft8inches of HECK ON WHEELS. Heart of gold, Tongue of a Soldier, and the green thumb of Johnny Appleseed.

    Bless you today, Miss Kara. Thank you for sharing this.

    Comment by Barb George — May 6, 2009 @ 10:43 pm | Reply

    • I’ll bet Grandma Hannah is smiling right at this moment! I’d be honored if you wanted to pass it along. Thank you. Loved the story of her Forget-Me-Nots. Perfect name, eh?

      Comment by karaswanson — May 6, 2009 @ 11:50 pm | Reply

      • Exactly! Grandma Hannah would be so pleased to know how far her flowers have traveled, and that they were at ‘that Allie’s’ wedding.


        Comment by Barb George — May 7, 2009 @ 6:21 am

  3. […] Mother's Day Is Always Christmas « Kara Swanson's Brain Injury Blog – Kara Swanson’s Brain Injury Blog …. Blogroll. Kara’s Cafe Press Storefront · Kara’s Online Store With Cool Mouse Pads, Tote Bags and Unique Casual Wear For The Whole Family · Blog at WordPress.com. […]

    Pingback by Brain Injury Blogs of Interest | Uncle Brice's Blog — May 7, 2009 @ 3:58 pm | Reply

  4. Kara…that was absolutely just what I needed to read today.

    I’m sure “back in the day”, our parents crossed paths at one school function or another. Now here they are again, in the same neighborhood so to speak. I’m sure they’ve re-introduced themselves and your Mom and Dad are telling mine just how proud they are of you. You really do have a gift with words.

    Thank You for sending me this link…


    Comment by Cindy Richardson — May 9, 2009 @ 2:38 am | Reply

    • Thanks, Cindy. Very kind of you. Glad it can help on what must be, for you, a tough weekend given all that you’ve been through. 🙂

      Comment by karaswanson — May 9, 2009 @ 3:10 am | Reply

  5. Kara, that was a great post. Thanks for sharing.

    Comment by John Hetzler — May 11, 2009 @ 10:28 pm | Reply

    • Hey John! Seeing your name there made me smile this morning. Thanks for that. G always sends such delightful pics of your brood. I’m enjoying watching them grow! Hope you are well. 🙂 K

      Comment by karaswanson — May 11, 2009 @ 11:26 pm | Reply

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: