Monday, May 07, 2007

Purse-uing Happiness

Several people asked what I told those lovely women about pursuing happiness on Saturday. I thought about posting my speech, but didn't because my experience of mothering is so different from most. I was afraid few could relate.

For the talk, I filled a beach bag with things most women carry in their purse--money, keys, photographs, a cell phone, candy, Kleenex, a Band-aid. I drew out one thing at a time and talked about how it relates to mothering.

Here's one piece of what I said:

Band-aids: They’re magic, aren’t they? Stick one on and the tears just dry up. But it’s more than Band-aids that our mothers carry, it’s the ability to comfort and soothe us.

In our family, we have a favorite story about my nephew, Brendan, the first grandchild. When he was tiny—way too young to talk, he was crying and my mother was trying to get him to settle down. At some point, he made a collection of sounds that both my mom and my sister swear were the words, “I want my mama.”

My best friend is facing a potentially fatal illness right now. The other day, after a scary doctor’s visit, she turned to me and wailed, “I want my mother.” She’s 53 years old, and her mother’s been dead for more than 10 years.

No one, ever in our lives, will have that same ability to make things right, to make us feel better with a smile and a hug. Our mothers carry magic that’s much bigger than a Band-aid.

Here's my conclusion:

The two most important things we carry as mothers and as daughters can’t be pulled out of my giant purse because they’re invisible, intangible. As mothers and daughters, we carry each other’s memories. We carry each other’s dreams. Let’s remember that as we go forward, let’s carry those memories and dreams gently and with gratitude because that is the way to pursue happiness.

Most people were not lucky enough to have the kind of mother I have. So very many of you have grown into the mothers you yourselves needed.

God bless us, every one.


Carrie Wilson Link said...


kario said...

You are a stud, woman!

riversgrace said...

This is beautiful...

Mystic Wing said...

My, haven't you been busy. I"d have given anything to see your talk to the church ladies. And to meet the 70-year old perveyor of kinky toys.

Please, though, stop tripping and falling, will you?

If you're unable to walk, who will point me into the bear-infested mountains when the Alzheimer's sets in?

Deb said...

Simply beautiful. I loved your last words, "So very many of you have grown into the mothers you yourselves needed." God bless you!

Stacy said...

Like Deb said and, now I see the definition of nephew. This is interesting, get it?

Kim said...

So beautiful.

And I am so sorry about your best friend. I hope she is able to get some good news, find some peace and comfort, and feel the touch of her mother's love that I believe is still there for her if she can find it.