Someone, somewhere must have a vicious sense of humour. It is Mother’s Day in England today… a day when many Mums may get to lay in bed a little longer… except that today is also the day when we lose that hour as the clock’s have gone forward. I also happened to forget about that and worked late into the night, robbing myself of even more sleep. The dog wouldn’t have been bringing me breakfast in bed anyway…
That only happened to me once on Mother’s Day and, given the extent of the ‘damage’ in the kitchen when my small sons decided I should have breakfast in bed, I am quite glad about that. Today I get to go out to lunch instead, invited to my younger son’s home, where I get to play with my granddaughter while her parents cook and do the dishes. Little things like that make all the difference.
It struck me, when I was thinking about my granddaughter, that I am a grandma. I know that sounds odd, but there is a vast difference between knowledge and realisation. I am not just a grandma, though, I have, since my granddaughter’s birth, moved ‘up’ a generation. If I am blessed with the longevity of my own great-grandmothers, I could even move up another couple of generations before becoming an ancestor.
I was lucky enough to know my own great-grandmothers. One, indeed, was with us until long ofter my own children were born and from her I heard the tales of her own mother and grandmother, taking my imagination back through shared memory to the mid 1800s. It is not the same as reading about it. When the person from whom you gather memories remembers the people and the incidents, they come alive…especially when these women were your family. In a little while, when they are old enough,I may be able to share that same gift with my grandchildren, giving them access to memories stretching back seven generations before their own, with me somewhere near the middle.
The realisation brought with it a sense of continuity. My personal memory covers the three generations before me. If I am very lucky, I may see three, or perhaps even four generations after me, though I would have to rival great-grandma’s years to do so. But the story doesn’t stop there. I am just one small link in a very long chain. The future will count me as an ancestor one day, just as I can look back at the faceless women whose names are on my own family tree…and even further back to a time before records began.
It puts you in perspective. You are suddenly a very small link in an incredibly vast chain… yet an essential one if the chain is to continue into the future. Even the smallest of things can make a difference.
Science has traced the first ancestors of humankind, but our evolution did not begin with humanity. The very earliest lifeforms appeared over four thousand million years ago, poised between inorganic and organic matter… and even they had to evolve from something. We speak of Mother Earth… and with some truth as the Earth must be the ancestor of us all.
She still does what mothers do… providing us with all those things we need in order to survive.
On Mother’s Day, maybe it would not be a bad idea to look at the Earth with as much love and appreciation as we give to human mothers.