Saturday, May 11, 2013

To Mothers Everywhere ... "Happy Mother's Day"

I'm having a little bit of Mother's Day Anxiety. I do a better job at living up to this occasion when I am not 'on location'. Writing a letter to tell Mom that I think she is pretty special? Easy! Sending a card to mark the occasion? Hallmark, you've made a few dollars off of my ability to carry through with that. Sending a gift in the mail? Receiving a parcel in the mail is a gift unto itself. It takes the pressure off of what is inside of the packaging. I can do that. I enjoy doing that. Especially when the gift is attached to no important date.

This year, my mom is coming here. Tonight. She will be waking up Mother's Day Morning. Here. In my house. With me. In person. What in the world can I do to live up to the pomp and circumstance of such an occasion? [heart rate goes up here].

First of all, my biggest gift to you will be whatever I can manage to clean, organize, buy and arrange before your bus arrives tonight. There is so much to do. And I have so much time to do it in. But I don't want to do it. The dirt and the dust and the clutter and the disorganization have grown so big and so tall that I don't know where to begin. Honestly? I want to begin by shutting out the sun. Then you can't see how dirty everything is. Perhaps this will be your gift to me. Your arrival will force me to move. To take one step in a forward direction. And start to move the mountains of dirt around here. One teaspoon full at a time. Thanks, Mom. I will be forever grateful.

Secondly, I had hoped that some deep and profound words would pour out of my fingertips this morning so that I could print this off and give it to you as a testament of my respect, honor and love that I have for you. I know that I don't do this as often as I used to, but I have done my best to convey my thoughts and feelings as I live and breathe them. I hope that I honor the mother that you have been, are, and forever will be ... by living my life in a way that makes you proud. I hope to raise my own family in a way that perpetuates the sense of family that we have among us. I am so grateful for the bonds within our family. I can see my own little family starting to emulate what they have grown up with and it makes my heart happy. Thanks, Mom ... for living your life the way that you do. For showing us that 'love' is a verb. I'll never forget the story about when a squabble among my two older sisters resulted in Mom telling one of her daughters to tell the other "I'm sorry". My sister simply couldn't do it. The best that she could muster was, "I can think it ... but I can't say it". Mom thought to herself "Good enough". It is better to think something and be truthful to yourself and the world around you, than to go off spouting empty words just because you have been told to do so. "I love you too, Mom" ...

Third, I don't have a gift for you. Perhaps as today unfolds, some physical token will present itself to me so that I have something for you to unwrap. But I don't do well under pressure. Let my gift to you be the unexpected gift that may have already arrived. Or the package that will find its way to you when I find something that speaks to me. Just because I don't have a gift doesn't mean that you aren't gifted. I hope that the day is a little bit special for you and I will do my best to help that happen. But I simply fold under pressure. Please forgive me. You don't have to say the words ... I will hear them if you feel them. Your unspoken vocabulary is far louder than you realize.

Fourth, I expect no more than I give this Mother's Day. To my own children ... no physical token is required. You give me gifts throughout the year without realizing that you are doing so.

To My Oldest - the last time you were over you shuddered just a little bit when you uttered the words (to me) that you can't believe how much you are like me. Yes ...  you were talking about my our obsession with pre-washing dishes before they go into the dishwasher. But the moment you said the words (again), I had an instant replay of the time you came home when you were driving your friends around in my car when you were a teen. Your friends were 'misbehaving' (I don't remember their exact actions but they were distracting you while you were driving in much the same way an out-of-control child can do) and you pulled the car over and stopped. You told them (something to the effect of) to settle down or get out. You quite physically shuddered when you told me this at the age of 16, "I can't believe it ... I'm turning into you!!"

Thank you. You have been listening all along. Your subconscious mind will remember some of the wisdom lessons that I have done my best to share with you. You will hear my 'voice' throughout your life. It may not seem like much right now but some day it will. Trust me. I know this. I cherish hearing Dad's words of wisdom when I need them the most. Mom may live five hours away but I am forever quoting her. May you remember the 'good stuff' and let the rest go. Please??

To my Second Son - you and I share a perspective about life and how we see it on a sporadic, yet somewhat regular basis. Having you back at home while you rerouted your life these past years has added a little lot of the mundane day-to-day stuff to our lives. Neither one of us enjoys chit-chat on a regular basis. We tend to steer our energy towards 'real' conversations. We have had many. Most recently, was when we drove out to see Mom a month ago. I enjoy your perspective, your passion, your integrity and your honesty. You tell me truths that I may not always want to hear but you keep it 'real' around here. You see me - inside and out. The good, the bad and the ugly. And (I think) you still love me. Words are cheap around here. We don't say it out loud. We act in loving and respectful ways. I hear you too ...

Thank you. You make many, many days 'Mother's Day'. You do things without me asking you to. You do things when I ask too. I know it is ever-so-much-easier to do something when it is your choice ... I thank you for doing the 'hard stuff' when I know you'd rather take a memo and get back to me. You have been the 'Man About the House' that I have never had. Not since Dad ... not since Dad ... Thank you doesn't even begin to cover it.

To My Youngest - you are wise beyond your years. You have enveloped the characteristics of your older brothers and wove them into something unique and special within you. You have inherited and embraced the characteristics within your dad that I loved. You have only just begun yet I see the path that you are headed towards. You were the gift that I did not ask for, yet I received anyway. You talk with me about your days, your hopes and dreams ...  yet you listen to me carry on about my mundane little stories too. You know of what I speak when I talk about my frustrations within my little daycare family. And you lead by example. I am learning from you ...

Thank you. You listen to my little rants. Oh, except for those times when you sort of shake your head a little bit after I've spoken a little too long without breathing and say, "What?" Yes. I know. I do it too. So did your dad ...  so did your dad ... (please remember to honor that side of yourself). You are a patient and caring young man. You see beyond the obvious and you are looking ahead with your head secured tightly. No rose colored glasses perhaps, but the ability to see through the clear reality-tinted ones is a gift. Embrace it. When you look back on your life one day, I am wondering whose words of wisdom will come back to you. Mine? Or your own??

To My Mom - see what you have done? Do you see what I see and feel within my little family? This is the greatest gift that you have given to me. The ability to parent my children in the best way that I know how. I was a different parent to each of them at different parts of my life. I did the best I could with what I had at the time. My Oldest does not recognize me as the person who raised him. For that, I am both sorry and grateful. I'm grateful that I improved (?) with age ... but sorry that he was the one who took the brunt of my learning curve in the early years.

Thank you, Mom. Words can't begin to encompass my gratitude. But I try. I will continue to do my best to carry your wisdom and lessons and words within me. I promise to hang on and cherish the good stuff and let the rest go. We are imperfect people in an imperfect world. We teach our children what we know when we know it. But most of all ... we teach by example. Thank you for setting the example that you have set for me. Thank you for enduring the 'hard stuff' so that you can sit back on a day like Mother's Day and feel the goodness that you have created come back to you. May that be the gift that you receive. Not just from me. But from all of those who you have mothered along the way.

There you go, Hallmark. I did it my own way. I may not make greeting card brevity requirements, but I did what I set out to do (I think ... I must go back and reread this now!).

It is kind of nice to have a special day to honor your mom after all. No matter where she may be. We carry our moms within our hearts and we share what they gave us to those who touch our world. I think moms everywhere know this. May the moms who are looking down upon us feel all that we are feeling. Sometimes ... the words simply don't have to be said. They know. Because we feel it deeply and act accordingly. Please know and be comforted that your mom knows how you feel about her. Wherever she may be ....

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