Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Keep The Light On, Please

For Magpie #43
A few days ago, my former landlady came from Maine to visit me. It gets dark early and I'd turned on the outside light. "Ah," she smiled when she saw it. "You've got the 'Mother Light' on."

She explained to my puzzled look, "When my mother lived in your little cottage, she would turn that light on for me and I would think, Oh, Mom, I've just gone for a walk. I know my way back. But then I'd realize what she was doing. She was just letting me know she was there, as a mother should. I came to think of it as the Mother Light."

I thought about that, about ways that mothers light the way for their children and how we do it long after they are grown and no longer need us. My own mother used to leave the porch light on for me if I'd gone for a walk and darkness fell before I returned. If I took the car, the garage light was always on when I came home after sunset. She didn't need to do it. I was perfectly capable of finding my way in the dark. It was a courtesy and a small sign of mother love that kept her turning on lights for me long after I needed her to.

There was, as well, the light in her eyes whenever she saw any of her children, and the light in her heart that expressed itself over and over in countless doings for each of us. Never did we go out but that some light - porch, hall, stair - was left burning for us. And when she died, she left the light burning in our hearts so that we could see where it was we needed to go.

The physical lights of porch and stair are symbols for the mother light that shines internally, eternally. They say, I am here in a visual way, just as the spoken words resonate in a child's ear and heart. What better task for a mother to take upon herself than shedding light where there is darkness?

28 comments:

Eric Alder said...

Mothers enlighten us in so many ways. A nice story, Pauline!

Judith said...

Beautiful story.
You're lucky, Pauline. That's some eternal light your mother left burning in you --- so that it now gives light to the rest of us. Guess we're lucky too!

Brian Miller said...

smiles. what a cool mom to fill you with such...

Sue J said...

I found this very moving. I didn't realise that the tiny things have such very strong memories, because I'd never given it much thought before. My mother performed small kindnesses and so do I. It's the way mothers are made, I think. Thank you for sharing.

Tabor said...

What a lovely post and a lovely image of motherly love. We are all so blessed.

Hilary said...

Beautiful post, my friend. I had to smile in recognition. My son headed out about an hour ago, and the light went on as soon as I shut the door behind him.

Meggie said...

Such truth in this post!

Tumblewords: said...

A truly lovely piece. It spreads warmth and love.

christine said...

Such a lovely picture of the 'mother light' I loved this and what wonderful memories you have.

Doc FTSE said...

This is such a lovely post! Wouldn't surprise me if some naughty blogpoet borrowed the idea for a poem!

Pauline said...

Eric - some of us have been blessed with our mothers :)

Judith - my mother taught me to share ;)

Brian M - I didn't realize how cool she really was until I grew up some...

Sue J - it's always the little things, yes?

Tabor - we are, indeed

Hilary - and I smiled at that :)

Meggie - you'd do the same :)

Thanks, Tumble - the world needs plenty of that, yes?

Christine - those memories are still strong and I try to do the same for my own children

Doc - ideas are out there for all to grab; if some naughty blogpoet borrowed this one, I hope he does it justice ;) (And posts it with a link so I can enjoy it too.)

Tess Kincaid said...

The Mother Light. What a lovely metaphor.

Kristen Haskell said...

Lovely

Lyn said...

It's the light in her eyes that does it for me....a lovely presentation..so heartfelt!!

Pauline said...

Thanks Tess and Kristin, for stopping by to read and comment :)

Lyn - my mother was a lovely woman :)

LauraX said...

Truly a beautiful sharing...yes as mothers we do light the way for our children, and for ourselves as well. May our inner lights shine brightly and illuminate the steps of our hearts for our beloveds, and for welcoming our own selves into the world anew each day.

Suz said...

I just loved this tale
I have a husband light
I am going into my senior years and he still leaves the light on for me and waits up (sleeping o the couch of course)
I always get a kick out of it..but truly do appreciate it..and will remember it always..like you do your mother's light
nice nice tale

Scented Leaf said...

The simple enlightenment offered by our mother helps us to discover our way. I'm glad you had the privilege to be raised by such a great soul.

Pauline said...

LauraX - may they do that, indeed :)

Love the idea of a husband light, Suz!

I was lucky for sure, Leaf

chiccoreal said...

Dear Pauline: It is amazing to think about "child's ear and heart". Yes the motherlight will always stay lit in my heart with her loving voice calling us home for the night! Ah... to be where it all counts; home! Inside where the love light always keeps aglow! Made me remember the tender moments lovingly recalled in your amazing story~ I just have to share this with my Mom!

Cyn said...

I could not comment on this the other day cause it was a true nostalgia day and I was in a sad kind of mood. But I loved this Clarke, so much so that as you know, I posted it on FB.

I guess you could have called the front porch light at our house the "love light" too...it wasn't ALWAYS on ALL the time though; mom tended to use it more as a "gotcha" deterrent!! You see, as soon as the car driven by my high school boyfriend would pull in the yard with me in it, she would basically count to ten and then that HUGE porch light would go on!! Definitely was a deterrent AND a perfect mood breaker!! ;)

Pauline said...

chiccoreal - thanks! Hope your mom likes it, too :)

Cyn - that made me laugh. Sounds just like your mother!

Flea said...

Love it, love it, love it!!

Carrie Burtt said...

A mother's light of love and guidance never stops shining in our hearts...this is beautiful Pauline! :-)

Stafford Ray said...

Beautifully expressed. Such mothers make great people simply by loving and valuing their children! Pass it on!

Pauline said...

Stafford, I will, I will and thanks :)

Carrie - it's true, the light ought never to go out.

Flea :) :) :)

Peter Bryenton said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Peter Bryenton said...

So that's where you learned to be a good mother too.