I was very inclined to be sad today.
Namely, because my mom is farther away than ever from me and I cannot be with her on Mother’s Day. In fact, neither Thayne nor I can be with her today.
It rained last night in Denver. I got home late and watched a film, Rachel Getting Married, alone in the bedroom with the drops outside peppering and finally slathering our streets like thinned-out syrup. The rain heightened the sound of tires whipping by. At times, I couldn’t hear the movie, it was so loud outside. But, I couldn’t shut the windows. That was like cutting off the air. At least we’re breathing the same air. It gave me comfort.
The film examines a mother-daughter relationship. Sure, sure, the title implies a story of sister-sister relationship – and it is about that, too. However, cut down to its deepest core, the motherly issues sat fat at the top of the psychological quandary that was the main character's life.
As hubzo watched Mickey Rourke's return to glory in the room next door, I became entranced by the film. The nature vs nurture issue was top-of-mind. How obvious that the main character’s drug abuse stemmed from serious guilt issues that bled into her relationships with her family. Her selfish nature, raw sadness, her suffering and love were clearly sewn into her personality by the classical weavers of humanity: her parents. How sad for her to have a mother who avoided pain and shut herself away from her children.
I dunno. I really, really didn’t understand the latter part. But, I’ve learned from my parents and individual experiences that life isn’t always what you know.
Hmmm. Yes, the film was delving deep into parental discretion, guidance, responsibility. But, my mom isn't even a teensy bit similar to the mom in the film. No. I also found it eerie that Debra Winger – who starred in Terms of Endearment, perhaps the most famous and heart-wrenching film about a mother-daughter relationship ever – played the vacant, terrible mother. I'm sure it wasn't on purpose.
Anyway, the film sent me into varying states of emotion as I flipped through the life book in my mind. Increasingly, lessons taught to me by mom highlighted themselves. Moments of enjoyment gleamed bright as I paged through. I became teary with happiness at my luck of having her be my mom. That she steers me in the way she does, that she lets me be a child in her presence if I don't feel very adult that day. That she believes that situations are different for each person involved, that humans are not the same, nor should we try to be each other. That there are few reasons to achieve your neighbor’s life, or your best friend’s world. That it's more important to achieve your own special sphere of life, of success, of individual talents! That money isn’t everything – it helps, it makes things like cancer treatment less stressful, it helps provide a home to house your family, but value can be found within many things. To allow intelligence and humor to reign your day and progression through bad and good situations! That work ethic is human ethic! That joy can be found in a kitchen with my brother and me, cooking furiously, learning from each other's culinary adventures. These understandings and respect for individuality and smaller slices of the American dream are a few of the greatest gifts that my mother has given to me. More importantly, she has let me be me.
So I'm wiping my sad thoughts off the counter and tossing 'em in the trash. Today is a day to celebrate moms, a day to celebrate all the awesomeness that she encompasses. I'm not sad anymore as I write this, because I like writing about my mom. I like advertising her unfailing ability to be cool, to "get it", to be thoughtful and really listen! That's why we all love her, right? She's fun and she's so REAL. She isn't anything phony or spurious or devoid of acknowledging reality because she's not afraid of anything anymore. She's experienced the most awful things that can happen to a human. Through time, she has emerged even more structured and empathetic for each of us, for our individual traits and failings. She guides us to the right space because she knows where it is. She knows all of these secrets that many of us will never know!!! It's crazy!
So, my gift to mom today, this year, this recovery, this life, is to ensure that I return the respect she’s instilled in me. I have to let her be her. All of us have to let her be Paulette and keep the pathway clear and free of additional mess so it’s easier for her to maneuver and be the special person that she is. She is the queen bee of this latest challenge. In fact, it’s vital that her voice be heard through decisions made, discussions with the doctor, times when she’s so tired that she doesn’t really care anyway.
There is one thing that friends, colleagues, counterparts, acquaintainces always, always say to me at some point during our relationship: “your mom is the coolest. I wish my mom was like yours.”
It’s really true. I am lucky. My dad is lucky. Thayne is lucky. Our family is lucky. Hubzo and Jennie are lucky. Her community is lucky. Her boss is lucky. Hundred and hundreds of kids in her school district are lucky. Her dog is lucky. Her friends and colleagues are lucky. Her parents were lucky.
Forget the lottery. We’re a pretty rich group of folks reading this today. Yes, we are.
Happy Mother’s Day, mummy. I love you.