When I was in Tanzania with my good friend Kerry, we visited a Masai village and took part in the women’s dance. Of course there were children and of course Kerry, the architypical mom, gushed. She was a newly minted Grand-mom and it took very little encouragement for her to whip out photos of the newly minted granddaughter. The change in those Masai women was moving. We…ok, Kerry, morphed from being just another tourist to a MOM!, not just a mom but a GRANDMOTHER!! When it was established that I was not in this sacred group, I was pushed to the edge of the mob rushing in to see Kerry’s photos. I was stunned. And awed. The image has never left me. There was my Kerry, little white woman of a certain age, dressed in her best safari kakis, surrounded by tall, black women of all ages, draped in their brilliant plaid blankets and adorned with layers of beaded jewellery. Since I wasn’t a mom, I never witnessed this phenomenon and since Kerry was well over her gushing stage with her own children, it never occurred to her to play the mother card when she travelled. But in the throes of grandmother fever, her love poured forth and enchanted these women. That was their language – love. Unconditional love for their defenceless fragile offspring. An evolutionary mechanism that ensures the survival the species, it has taken on mystic proportions. It should be a bond that transcends culture, language and even species. You don’t need to be a mom to recognize that love. It tugs at your heart and takes you back to when you were loved or how you wish you had been loved, by your mom. I recognize it not only in humans but in animals as well. To stand and watch a mother gorilla faun over her baby or an elephant wrap her trunk protectively around her son, is to know you stand in the presence of that mystic bond. You know, without a doubt, that whether human or not, most moms would lay down their lives to protect their off-spring. And it makes us feel all warm and fuzzy to be near it.
To all the moms out there, I pray that today of all days you are surrounded by all the love that you have nurtured and know how much you are loved. While every day should honour moms, Happy Mother’s Day to you all, no matter the colour, culture or species, your love has made us what we are today. How do you honour your Mother on this her special day? Have you ever had a ‘mom’ experience travelling?