The Ties That Bind Us: A Mother's Day Reflection

Posted by Annegret on May 14th 2024

The Ties That Bind Us: A Mother's Day Reflection

I recently visited my mom at her retirement home. It was a rainy afternoon, and I found her still seated at a table in the dining room. I pulled up a chair and sat with her. The other residents in the room—all women—stayed as well, perhaps curious about me. I offered to read a short story to everyone, and we quickly settled on one called “Fear of Flying.”

The story began with the author walking her neighbor’s tiny, shivering dog named Lori—Lori was always shivering, it seemed—when two boys entered the park, engaged in a battle with toy swords. One of the boys noticed Lori and asked challengingly, “And what is her superpower?” The author desperately searched for an answer to defend shivering Lori, but before she could answer, the other boy yelled, “Can’t you see it? Her superpower is fear!” And indeed, looking at Lori, one could see just how powerful her fear was. Her quivering seemed to shake the very earth beneath her feet.

As the author considered the boy’s impressive answer, she thought of her own fear: flying. She asked the boy whether he considered her fear a superpower. “Of course!” he assured her, “The fear of flying is what holds the plane in the air!”

And so the story went on. And so did our day. The conversation ebbed and flowed, each of us sharing our own stories of fear and hope. At some point—I couldn’t say when, as time seems to matter very little in that place—a resident with Alzheimer’s yelled loudly. The other ladies didn’t bat an eye. They just said softly, “Erika, be quiet now.” or “Erika, not right now.”

I held my mom’s hand, rubbed her neck and back, and listened. I listened as the ladies squabbled, as they told stories about Erika or about their own lives—sometimes erupting in raucous laughter and other times quieting enough that I could hear our joined heartbeats. I chimed in as they discussed the most important ingredient in garden compost (stinging nettle, of course). I watched and listened until dinnertime, observing the way these women held each other. They held hands and held doors open, yes. But beyond that, they held space for each other. They held their tongues when others needed to speak. They held each other, in every way you can imagine. And I watched in awe.

As I left that day, I couldn’t help but think: It’s them—the women in wheelchairs and walkers, in the dining rooms of retirement homes, sitting calmly together—who hold our world together with their quiet kindness. Just as Lori’s shivering can vibrate through the earth and a person’s fear of flying can hold an airplane in the sky, the tenderness and compassion these women show each other is holding our world together by its threads.

We think ourselves powerful when we achieve great things—when we win awards, raise our children, perfect a skill, or advance our careers. But our true superpowers emerge when we honor each other. Care for each other. When we hold the world together with unseen strength.

With that reflection, I wish you all a wonderful Mother’s Day. Enjoy celebrating it in the way that feels right for you. We here at Kettle Care are grateful for our customers and that so many of you chose our products as a gift for this weekend. We’re honored.

With gratitude,

Annegret and the Kettle Care Team