Friday, May 8, 2009

The Sun Always Rises: A Gift to Mothers


Like an all-powerful deity, she hovers over our lives from the very first breath we take. She feeds us, nurtures us, becomes irreversibly imprinted on our souls. Before we have the power to select or to resist, she becomes our lifelong muse.

As a writer, I take the idea of the muse very seriously. The ancient Greeks knew what they were talking about when they created the goddesses of artistic inspiration. It is the force that pushes me to tap the keyboard, to keep the words flowing, the thoughts brewing. Without a muse, my screen is blank. I am nothing.

But the power of my motherly muse has always extended beyond the computer screen. One day it dawned on me that her power actually had no limits. It was elemental to my life. In essence, since the day I was born, everything I have ever done has been with the sole intent of pleasing my mother.

And I don't think I'm all that unusual. I think most of us, if we step up to our reflection and grapple with the truth, will admit that she continues to compel us, no matter our age or station in life. When the game is over, the curtain is drawn, the award is presented, she is the first place we run. The glory of accomplishment isn't real until we share it with her. Even if it's just a thought deep in the recesses, an impulse that we don't immediately act upon, it's there: I need to tell my mother.

So what it all means is this: she is the Earth's most powerful force, the humanly equivalent of the Sun, providing the planet's inhabitants with the energy to keep this thing going. If we could trace the source of human triumph, the key to our greatest discoveries, our most remarkable victories over the mysteries that confound us, the cord would lead us all directly to Mommy.

This is not to say that each of them are perfect—surely there have been mothers over time in need of a few maternal remediation classes. But that proves the enormity of her power—even when she is bad at her job, she casts a monstrous shadow. The bad mother creating the bad person is one of the most enduring of our well-worn crime narratives.

But, oh, when she is on her game, when the mom goddess is a maestro directing her charges to greatness, it is like a gift to every one of us. Inspired by the motherly muse, that boy grows up to find a cure for AIDS, that little girl grows into the greatest writer of a generation. And of course when that superstar wide receiver catches the winning touchdown pass, we all know the first person he will thank.

But let me not get too abstract here. I tend to get a bit carried away when the topic is moms. I am still amazed by the influence mine has over me, 43 years into my time here. By now it has become clear to me that the influence never wanes. Even when I am not thinking about her directly, her words, her voice, her conscience, her wishes, her dreams, are directing my actions, moving my feet to walk into my child's room to have that serious talk, pushing my hands to help the old lady load her groceries into her car, forcing my fingers to fly over the keyboard to finish that great book proposal. I couldn't shake her even if I wanted. She occupies a part of my brain, resting sometimes, prodding at other times. So I have begun to think of us as a team, my mother and me. We have been confronting every challenge for the past 43 years. Kicking ass together. No matter how many more years we have together on this mortal coil, I know that she will never be gone from me. I will never be without my muse. To you, mother, I say thank you. I love you.

And to the rest of you mothers out there, as you accept your Mother's Day gifts and smile until your face hurts, know this: You are the most important person in every one of our lives. You are the Sun.


With love,


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  1. happy mother's day denene!!! you have inspired me and encouraged me to be a better mother. thank you! thank you!!! i love mbb!!!

    and great post nick! the pic at the top is incredible...beautiful women!!!

  2. beautiful post Nick, Denene...looks like there's no need to throw him away:) have a wonderful Mommie's day.

  3. Great post and Happy Mothers Day to you Denene and all of the mom's here at MBB

  4. Tis true. My mom is definitely my muse.

  5. Just beautiful!!

    Happy Mother's Day

  6. Great Post! Happy Mother's day Denene! Enjoy the weekend over at the Millner-Chiles home.

  7. How beautiful. Happy Mother's day Ladies. Thanks for reminding me of the power of a mother.

  8. Thank you and Happy Mother's Day to you as well. Beautiful. :)

  9. Such a fantastic post, Denene. Honestly, it is by far the best tribute and reflection on mothers that I have seen anywhere.

    Take you for your eloquent words. Your posts are always such a pleasure for me to read.


    PS: SO glad to read that you will be joining our little carnival next week. Cannot wait to see your little artist's creations.

    Happy Mother's Day!

  10. Finally, a blog that I can relate to. Your site is amazing.

  11. Awesome Tribute to the Mothers in your life and ours! Angela


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