“Whatever else is unsure in this stinking dunghill of a world a mother’s love is not.” ~James Joyce
I think about all that could be said about Mother’s Day, in a general sense, has likely been said. People have dismissed it as a “Hallmark Holiday” and accused it of cynically plucking the heartstrings (and pocketbooks) of obligated children everywhere, but still it endures. This is not likely because the Mother’s Day consumer apparatus is so architecturally sound that it cannot be upended by a bit of cynicism. No, it is likely because Mother’s Day, for all of its obligatory phone calls, overpriced brunches, and wilting bouquets sent by FTD, has a personal and intimate component that cannot be diluted by such triviality.
I say this knowing full well that many of you may not have the most endearing, nor enduring, relationships with your mothers, while others have mothers that are just a fading memory. And some of you may be mother’s who are estranged from your own children, or have lost children over the years. For those of you that fit into this category, Mother’s Day is no doubt a difficult day of reckoning, or a collective day of celebration that is nothing of the sort. But the overarching concept of mother, as true or untrue as it may be, is something that continues to capture our imagination and serve as some engine of comfort and nurture. Therefore we are impacted (some more than others) by the perennial day of mothers and find our own way to reckon, or celebrate, the women who birthed us, or just simply mothered us.
Sometimes the personal far better epitomizes the concept of Mother’s Day than any general statement or philosophizing can achieve. The excellent StoryCorps project, which sets out to record, share and preserve the stories of average Americans has done an amazing job documenting the sort of intimate informality of life. Here are three exceptional StoryCorps recordings, expertly animated by the Rauch Brothers, that bring to light three very different stories about mothers – all of which are exceptionally touching and honest.
Happy Mother’s Day and enjoy!
The story of a immigrant mother’s struggle to care for her young children during difficult financial times
A 12-year-old boy with Asperger’s syndrome asks his mother some candid questions about her world view and what it is like to be a parent.
The personal story of a strong-willed Chinese grandmother told to her son and granddaughter.