Poems by Patricia Keough Wilson


Buying That Just Right Card for Mother's Day Across America

Patricia J. Keough-Wilson


I no longer stand in front of rows
of Mother’s Day Greeting Cards,
looking for the just right card
to express what my heart knows.

In truth, I wish I was;
that I had a mom waiting for
the mailman to deliver
my gift and card to her.

But I don’t, not any more.

It’s a made-up holiday anyway.
Gone big time commercial.
Restaurants and florists count it
as their biggest customer day.
Adult children rush to
make sure their mom is honored.
Driven by love or maybe guilt,
ready to applaud mom
for her success,
ignoring her failures
on this Mom’s Day.
Mothers are both sinners
and saints, judged so
by children of all ages
and sometimes by themselves.

Mothers fail when they
offer a harsh voice,
a hard tone,
when a gentle one
was needed.
Mea Culpa,
I remember repeatedly
telling my children
that the book
I was reading
was more interesting
than they were.
Their squabbles
bored me.
Their whining
caused spine shivers.

I remember my mother
always listened but I
also remember harsh words
at times,
words that left
nicks in my heart
from her sharp tongue.
But she never held
my hand to the hot stove,
as one woman told me,
her mother did for years.
She never beat me,
never even toed
the line of abuse.

We held hands when
we watched TV together,
even when I was a
teenager standing
uncertain on the
almost adult line.

She was certainly not
a mom who had to
adjust her halo on
the way out the front door.

But my good memories
tip the mom measurement scales
and her encouragement
still warms me when I
put fingers on keypad
to write, to capture
emotions, thoughts, memories.
We shared the world of writing.
She was both mother and friend.
So I know the joy of standing
before the racks of Mother’s Day cards,
looking for the right one.

But now as I walk by those racks,
I wonder how my own children
remember me as a mother.

And I think of children who
never had a mother
 to raise them
for whatever reason.
Or had a mother
who was cold and cruel.
I think of their pain
as they struggle
to buy a card
that does not add
to their pain.

And I wonder about
all the mothers
who will not get a card,
mothers whose children have died,
leaving their moms tasting
grief more intensely in this season
called Mother’s Day.
Or moms who failed so completely
that their children purposely
walk by those racks of cards
with eyes averted and
teeth gritted, refusing even
one tear drop.

Mothers’ Day is a day
that bears both
burden and blessing.
Making the day
afterwards a relief.



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