This week, my daughter and I spent a few days with my parents, which is always an experience.
When people ask me where my parents live, I say down a gravel road off a country road in the middle of nowhere.
Their home is a beautiful retreat surrounded by gardens and forest. It is also almost completely unplugged.
Which means I had to break into the cemetery a half mile down the gravel road, climb up a hill and hold my phone above my head to get a cell phone signal. And even that didn’t really work.
So instead of checking email, text messages or the internet, I spent time with family and particularly with my daughter.
At one point, we used the camera on my computer to get completely silly.
And, I’m pretty sure, the resulting photos will always make me smile.
Day 40: Being Silly
Day 18: Bartholomew Cubbin’s Victory Day 17: A Royal Birth Day 16: Creative Kids Day 15: The Scent of Honeysuckle Day 14: Clip of Kevin Kline Exploring His Masculinity Day 13: Random Text Messages from My Daughter Day 12: Round Bales of Hay Day 11: Water Fountains for Dogs Day 10: The Rainier Beer Motorcycle Commercial Day 9: Four-Leaf Clovers Day 8: Great Teachers We Still Remember Day 7: Finding the missing sock Day 6: Children’s books that teach life-long lessons Day 5: The Perfect Photo at the Perfect Moment Day 4: Jumping in Puddles Day 3: The Ride Downhill after the Struggle Uphill Day 2: Old Photographs Day 1: The Martians on Sesame Street
I don’t know which moon landing we were watching, but I do remember thinking that the event had to be much more interesting in live color.
I put on the hand-knitted brown sweater, which I had always wished was pink, and told my parents I was going out in the front yard.
I marched my chubby legs down the front porch steps and stared up at the moon expectantly. I was sure at any moment I would see a couple of ant-sized specks jumping around on it just as I had seen the astronauts jumping on the larger moon on television.
But no matter how hard I stared, I never saw anything moving on the moon.
Eventually, I trudged back up the stairs, removed my ugly brown sweater and rejoined my family.
I never told anyone why I had gone outside, but I think my mom instinctively knew.
She also knew I much I loved singing a song about the moon with her.
“I see the moon and the moon sees me. The moon sees somebody I want to see. So God bless the moon and God bless me. And God bless the somebody I want to see.”
I had to pass that on.
From the moment she was born, I sang that song to my daughter. Since she was singing before she could talk, she was soon singing the song with me.
And to this day, that song always makes me smile.
Day 33: I See the Moon
As Mother’s Day drew near, I once again found myself shopping for the perfect card for my mother.
Shopping for my mother is never an easy task, but card shopping for her is next to impossible.
I just can’t equate any of the flowery, sappy cards with my mother.
Granted, I’m not the flowery, sappy type myself, but compared to her? I’m a sentimental fool. I would be kidding myself and others if I claimed I had never wished my mother was the warm fuzzy type. Or that I didn’t find her a bit too serious and intense. Or that on more than one occasion (count hundreds in my teen years), I’d wished she was more like other mothers.
But I’d also be kidding myself if I didn’t recognize that if it weren’t for my mom, I wouldn’t be me. And, although it’s taken way too many years for me to publicly admit the fact, I really do like myself. So thanks Mom.
Thanks for living your life on your own terms and not bending to societal pressures. And thanks for expecting that I do the same.
Thanks for having the fortitude to speak out for what you believe, even when everyone else is keeping quiet. And thanks for expecting I do the same.
Thanks for taking on stereotypical male roles and responsibilities. And thanks for expecting I do the same.
Thanks for living a life that demonstrates what you do for others is more important than accumulating material possessions. And thanks for expecting I do the same.
Thanks for taking time to pursue your own dreams and passions while still ensuring your children get everything they need. And thanks for expecting I do the same.
And while I am grateful for everything my mom is and did, I’ve never have found the perfect Mother’s Day card to share that message. This year, I settled on one that simply said “You are special.” But I wish I could find the perfect card for her.
It would be a card that tells her to relax. She did her job as mother, and she did it brilliantly. It would tell her that she needs to stop worrying about her perceived missteps and focus on the facts: both of her kids turned out just fine. We never went to jail and we never made headlines for our bad behavior (at least I never made headlines for my bad behavior, I’m not sure my brother even participated in bad behavior.)
It would tell her she helped stack the odds in our favor so that we could live happy, productive lives. We are both well-educated, we are both responsible for ourselves and our own families and we are both parents who greatly appreciate that we had positive role models in our parents.
Most importantly, the card would tell her that she gave her children the best gift of all: the gift of knowing we are accepted and appreciated for being who we are with all our own flaws and quirks.
So instead of providing her with the perfect card, the best I can do is write my thoughts and share them with anyone who is willing to read them.
Happy Mother’s Day Mom.
I love you!