Saturday, May 7, 2011
Yes, am trotting out the old saw about showing Mom a little love every day and not just on Mother's Day. And I will keep up this rallying cry as long as the Battle of Hallmark rages in society. I realize, just to be fair, that it isn't only Hallmark that has invented special days for us to celebrate in order for them to receive remuneration-they're just the convenient whipping boy because they are one of the most glaring offenders in this crime of passion. It seems that everyone else with a business license and a little PR savvy are equally to blame: Mom desperately needs a $ 3.99 card made from recycled paper, a box of chocolates laden with high-fructose corn syrup and toxic chemicals, and a bunch of over-priced flowers that are been hot-house grown out of their natural cycle and shipped cross country in an hideous vase painted by someone for 8 cents a day in a country that doesn't believe in fair trade. Clearly, this is the best way to show her you care.
Here's a piece of news: She isn't just your Mother on the second Sunday of May. She has participated in your childhood since the day you crossed the threshold of her house, so she deserves a few more props for her contribution toward your ultimate survival and being here today than the Big Three of Gift ideas. Okay, four if you include jewelry.
From my own childhood, I realize that not all maternal figureheads deserve recognition for their biological contribution to your existence. My mother's sole contribution was popping me out after a tryst with my father-who was her third ex-husband at the time ( and later on, her fourth ex-husband...because that's what you did in the mid 1950's to preserve an air of decency.) Oh, that, and convincing my alcoholic grand parents that they needed to raise another child after they thought they were relieved of the responsibility of child-rearing because their own kids were old enough to live on their own. And no, I am not bitter- I just don't believe in sugar coating what everyone involved knew as the truth. It is what it is...and it's over. Moving along...
I didn't need to give birth to anyone to do any of the above, and they are my kids, none the less. When I occasionally hear from one of them, I'm thrilled. Once in a awhile I get taken out to a nice lunch to catch up.
I certainly didn't do it for the cards, the candy and the flowers. I'd rather have them come talk with me and tell me what they've done with their lives since we last saw one another. I want to know how they've contributed to making the world a better place, a more livable and viable place, and how they are passing the torch to the next generation...or where they have gone wrong, lost their way or flat out failed. They are still my kids, and if I can help them get it together, back on the path and continue their journey, I'm satisfied. If I can't...well, I appreciate knowing they cared enough to keep in touch. It's Mother's Day any day one of them shows up.
Let me add here that I am not the optimization of maternal nurture: I have learned from one of the best. Her name is Jean, and she was one of my Girl Scout leaders and is my Al-Anon sponsor.And she is my friend. She has taken me to meetings,church and helped me clean up a lot of the messes I've made in my lifetime. She has shared my joys, wiped my tears, gives me sought after advice when I ask for it, and kicks my ass when I don't but need it, even to this day. I an pretty sure she's sick of hearing about all the paltry trials and errors of what I laughingly refer to as my independent existence. She helps me stay connected to Life. Because that's what real mothers do: they connect you to Life and participate in living it along with you.
It is what the Great Mother does from within and outside of us... She gives Life. The Goddess grounds us and comforts us when we need it; she celebrates our joys and shares our sorrows, manifesting in our being-everyday.