Mother’s Day

I’m thinking about Osama Bin Laden’s mother.

Well, actually, I don’t even know if she’s alive.  It’s the concept.

Because for each of us who are celebrating Mother’s day in the arms of our family, receiving gifts, calls, cards and letters;  there is another mother whose child is vilified by the world, or incarcerated, or out of touch in the streets, mentally ill or abusing drugs or alcohol.  There are millions of women who have lost their children to war, or famine, or disease, or violent crime.

I’m happy that my children are alive and well.  I am privileged to like them as well as love them. I am blessed.  And I hope that through tonglen, good thoughts,  golden light or some mystical psychic phenom I can send a bit of my blessing to all of the mothers in the world.

After all, the mother of the killer loves her child as much as the mother of the victim.  Our sons and daughters may grow older, tougher,  softer or weaker; but we still have fleeting thoughts of them as innocent babies in our arms.  We can easily call forth the memory of the tiny hand in ours and the smell of their sweet milky breath.

And the simple reality of fortunate birth has given many of us safety from the plagues that face our sisters.  We have been able to feed our children without much worry.  It has been realistic to encourage them in education and self-fulfillment.  It’s not that we haven’t had worries and concerns; it’s that some of our concerns have been much higher on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.

We privileged mothers aren’t necessarily from any economic or geographic place in the world.  We can’t be smart enough, educated enough, rich enough or careful enough to know what path our child will follow or to keep them safe from all harm.    We are simply in a serendipitous place of this moment’s joy.  For this very second our children are there for us and we are there for our children.

And so, I send my assurance to every mother that I acknowledge your motherhood.  There may be things about our children that dismay us and mystify us, but none of these things break the bond of love that we have for them.  Should we lose our children for a moment or forever, they remain our children in our hearts.   We are mothers forever.

Mrs. Bin Laden,  I wish you comfort and peace.


First published May 7, 2011

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