Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Mother's Day, albeit late

A big, rousing, happy (late) Mother's Day to all moms out there!

From my own experience, I know what a hard job it is, sometimes unrelenting, where all you do is clean and cook, rock babies screaming with colic, cut food into tiny, unchoke-able pieces, and say a little prayer every time the kids head out in the car, whether they're the pilot or passenger. All of this and more, as you know very well, and then maybe add a paying job on top of it. If someone pampered you, took you to breakfast, went off with the kids for the day, or even just thanked you for all you do, I hope you enjoyed it. Thanks are often missing and if it takes this one day to make someone aware of all the hats you wear, be grateful for it.

But for myself, I've long hated this day. Motherhood wasn't something I was successful at, not part of my skill set - go ahead, ask my kids, they'll cite you chapter and verse - and Mother's Day was ignored by their father, my husband. The first couple or few years went by with no acknowledgement, which puzzled and hurt me. Finally I asked him why it was just another day to him. It wasn't because of forgetfulness. Not ignored as a comment on my mothering qualities (and let me digress here: the first time he cheated on me that I know of, in 1987, he said he wanted a divorce and the reason was I was not a good mother. I will never forget it but really couldn't argue with it. However, he prepared for a move from Texas to Washington and was leaving the kids with me. If someone understands this, please clue me in.) Nor was it ignored out of meanness. It was ignored because I was not his mother. Honest to pete. I've since heard from other women that they are also treated this way, notwithstanding we are the mothers of their children or stepchildren, or rock star stepmoms who take on an entirely different and difficult role. This has never made sense to me and it always, always, every year, hurt. But guess who gradually stopped doing anything special for the father of my boys on Father's Day? This was just another layer of cinders added to the disastrous road that was our marriage.

I guess the lesson here is even if some ritual, tradition, or event carries no significance to you but does for someone else, honor that. You don't know how it feels to them to have its importance dismissed or even belittled. Holy cow, life is so short and so many things take so little effort and reap such a bounty of reward, so why not show that kindness?

I thought of that this weekend. It was my HH's birthday and we celebrated at the Grand Canyon, taking the Grand Canyon Railway from Williams and spending a night in the park, which was awesome!! The Park Service has free shuttles that run all over the park and do a very good job of keeping traffic down; the drivers are excellent with scads of patience. If they say, "Exit from both doors, enter at the front door only." one time a day they must say it 300 times. They're just good at their jobs, and yet most passengers exit the bus without saying a word. My mother taught me to say thank you (thanks, Mom, and thanks for teaching me how to drive a stick!), but my HH taught me to call someone by name when I do. Each driver has his or her name posted at the front of the bus so when I got off I thanked them and called them by name. "Thank you, Marshall." "Thank you, Dorothy." It is sometimes amazing to see the change on someone's face just to be recognized as someone. It costs nothing but a breath and can make a big difference in someone's day.

We got home kind of late Sunday night but I still had to take the time to look at my photos, all 398 of them, now culled by about 50. I'm blown away by what I got. Wow. Wow! Maybe I can take pictures after all. Coming as soon as I can get them done. Thanks in advance for my shameless self-promotion on this forum.

Thought of the day:

Adopt an attitude of gratitude. - anonymous, I think


A big shout out to Bill Parker, paleontologist extraordinaire, for being awarded his Ph.D. in geology from UT-Austin a couple of weeks ago. Congratulations, Bill!

photo credit: Dave Velk