April 2018

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day

One of Ann's eighth grade students was fretting during class earlier this week about what to get her mom for Mother's Day. She wanted to get her mom something special. Her friend suggested flowers, and her eyes lit up at this brilliant idea: "Flowers! I'll get her flowers!"

Wanting to be thoughtful and get our mom something special, too, my sister Jennifer, brother Matt, and I have arranged for a woman who cleans homes to help Mom out at home. I thought about suggesting that Dad and I do a trade: I would let him talk to me about investments, and he would help Mom clean the house. I know, though, that even if Dad tried to be helpful he'd end up reading the newspaper on the couch, and Mom would do the cleaning, so I enlisted Dad's help with research instead.

To motivate Dad to do his research, I made a bargain with him: I would research one of my investments, and he would talk to the neighbors to get suggestions and contact information. To my delight, he got right on it. Now I've got to do my research.

At last, Mom will get some well-deserved help with the house. The Good Lord (that's what we call Him) knows that her children weren't ever much help. And her husband? The Good Lord knows about him, too.

I can't help but wonder if being a mother is all that it's cracked up to be. Mom had to give birth, which Carol Burnett once compared to blowing a bowling ball out of a nostril. Mom had to help each one of us learn the basics, like going to the bathroom in the toilet and eating our food with utensils, and then she had to go through those lessons and all that patience again after my brain surgery. She probably had to teach my sister after her brain surgery, too. Matt's only had to learn once, so he thinks he's advanced. Mom went to all of those ballet recitals, sports games, and parent conferences. She survived teenage angst and driver's licenses. She travelled "out west" with Dad and the kids, and begged for Cheetoes and milk when we got to Yellowstone too late to get any food.

When my parents took me to college for my first day, Dad cried when he said good-bye. Mom cheered: "One down. Two to go." She clapped her hands and did a little jump. I couldn't blame her. We were sort of a pain.

Through it all, though, she has maintained that she loves us. She has always been there for me. When I fainted giving a mini-sermon to our large Southern Baptist congregation, she was at my side when I opened my eyes. When I was tall and thin and awkward, she told me I was beautiful, (and I believe she meant it). When I came out as a lesbian, she told me that I would always be her child and that she would always love me. When I spent a month in the hospital recovering from brain surgery, she slept many nights on the sticky cot next to me.

She's there for me. She always has been. On this Mother's Day, I'd like her to know that I'm there for her, too. I hope she likes her present.  I love you, Mom.

Always your child, Mary

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