Indulge me while I think out loud. I’m trying to decide what to blather on about today…perhaps the “meaning of meaning” or the “intricacies of the time-space continuum” or even the old tried and true “How many angels can God sit on the head of a needle?” Now I spend hours and hours each day wrestling with these important issues, stopping occasionally to gaze for a few hours upon my navel which, after 62 years, is really one handsome navel! I kid you not!
But, I don’t know what is coming over me today as I want to “hold forth” about something that really matters…perhaps I took my medication today! So, well…oh, I know, mothers, as it is mother’s day!
Let me start with my beloved mother who is just into her 12th year of watching her six children from heaven, grimacing from time to time at the bad choices they make, trotting out one of her favorite expressions, “Aw shaw” after I’ve done something really stupid. But also, I’m pleased that now she has gotten the opportunity to get the education she wanted so badly when she was here on earth and just the other day she whispered to me when I was moping through the house immersed in a book, “Look yonder. The poor wretch comes reading.” Yes, she now has the wisdom of Shakespeare and can offer those words to me that Hamlet’s mother had for him.
Mother knew nothing about this aether that I swim in and I am so fortunate that she did not; for, she could not have been the good mother that she was if she had found her navel so enchanting. Under very grim circumstances of Southern red-neck poverty, she demonstrated great courage and cared for her six children and brought them all to maturity before the bitch Alzheimer’s claimed her in 2001. She was dutifully “under dad’s thumb” for the first 12 years or so of my life; but then he made a bad mistake in that he insisted that she go to work. She hated going to work and leaving her beloved children alone in the evening but she had no choice. However, she discovered that she liked working and she thrived on the job as a nurse’s aide. She thrived so much that within a decade she had acquired the status of Licensed Professional Nurse and became the administrator of the convalescent home that she had started out as a mere grunt.
It didn’t take Dad too long to see his mistake and when he did, his various interventions to stifle mom’s ambition could not succeed. He was right, articulating the hyper-conservative belief that “you better not let the women folk off the reservation.” Mother got “off the reservation” and discovered there was a world “out there” that she could find a place in and she did not have to live rest of her life “under the thumb” of my dad.
I have watched my sisters and other young women over the years get married and then suddenly they step into “motherhood.” And, I don’t mean merely that they have babies, but they magically know how to “mother” their children, intuitively feeling a connection with them and it is this “feeling” of connection that they offer that provides an existential anchor for the developing soul. And yes, it must hurt to me a mother and watch their “young’uns” grow up and make many of the same mistakes they did. And it must hurt father’s also. But, you can be impressed with me, as I avoided that mistake—-I DIDN’T HAVE CHILDREN!!!! (Now, on this final point, please remember I am pathologically ironic!)
(Btw, on Father’s Day, I hope to offer a more sympathetic note re my dad with whom I increasingly identify.)