You all know it’s Mother’s Day tomorrow, here in the USA.
I am by no means the world’s best daughter. Never was. But this is my time to make sure the deal’s even. That Mom is repaid for all the work she did and all the worry she felt trying to do a Good Job. Repaid sounds venal. I don’t exactly mean repaid.
The work of motherhood is most demanding in the days when our children are least capable of thanks. I remember my first thank you. I put my 3-month old daughter in her car seat, buckled her in, closed the door, and walked around behind the car to the driver’s side. I sat down and saw that my daughter’s eyes had followed me. An infant thank you.
I never wanted to make my little ones feel they were in debt. I felt so lucky to have them. As the kids grew up, I did want them to know I’d worked hard, but I still cringe at wanting to know if I’ve been a good mother. At the thought of asking.
(The Full Truth Of Shower Thoughts, Or, Saturday Morning at 11:52. I thought, as I took a shower this morning, after this post went up. In fact, what I want to know from my kids and don’t want to ask is, do you really love me? In my experience, people rarely love you for doing a Good Job. They love you for the ineffable delight of your being. That’s where the “Sturdy Gal” came from. She does good work, but rarely ignites the full sparkle type of love. That’s more personal sharing than usual. But, on the day before the first Mother’s Day after I settled my mom into assisted living, I respectfully request a pass.)
My mother was even less able to ask for reassurance than I, and therefore more in need. Also, she didn’t have a blog which would allowed her to ask indirectly. The technology of 2106, helping us in ways we couldn’t predict. Why doesn’t motherhood come with a gauge? Red lights of warning, green lights of All Is Well Good Job Mom!
So Mom, I am sorry I told you I didn’t respect you, when I was 16. I can forgive myself a little but not all the way. I am hoping that actions over decades count more than in-the-moment feelings and words.
I’ll be up to visit you tomorrow. And probably next Thursday too. Fridays aren’t good because they will take your group out to lunch. I’ll sort out a routine.
I’ll look for some silk flowers to put outside your room so you have a hope of finding it. Albeit a slim hope. Albeit possibly an imaginary hope. I know you always thought silk flowers were declassé but, realities. I’ll buy a nicer wastebasket. Some more cotton shirts to replace all those silk tunics that can’t be laundered. If you ever wanted to know you were a good mother, this is your answer. As best as I can give it.
Or Mom, if you like, I give you permission to take credit for any and all of my good behavior, such as it is. Does that seem like a good deal?
Life is an odd bird. We have to act on faith.
Have a wonderful weekend everyone.