Posts tagged ‘love’

Happy Mother’s Day, a Little Bit Late

bethaschmidt lifepreserversblog tea partyWhen I was a child my built-in girlfriend and playmate was my sister. We dressed up, played dolls, did arts & crafts, and enjoyed a lot of basement make-believe. One day, as we two princesses were sharing invisible lunch at the kid-size table, Mom came in and presented us with a special tea set.

It was the tea set that she and her sister had played with when they were children. We liked it. But. I don’t think we appreciated it. We were not careful enough, or perhaps we were only young and clumsy—it’s not like we were sipping fake whiskey and then throwing the cups into a pretend fireplace—but, on multiple occasions, Mom had to come in and clean up another shattered piece.

It is impossible to look back and remember exactly how I felt in my child’s mind, but I suspect that I didn’t feel bad enough. I am almost certain that I did not empathize with Mom’s feelings. I am absolutely sure I did not fully understand them then.

It is one of the most marvelous and vital a-has of adulthood to realize our parents are people, too. It’s the thing that makes up for the moment when you learned about Santa.

Our Mom gave us everything we needed and then some. She gave up new things for herself to make sure that we got extra things. And I’m afraid that we behaved like hooligans. We broke her tea cups. And we used to raid her closet to play dress-up. I remember one occasion when we took a dress and other things that still had tags on them, and we went romping around, indoors and out, wearing her brand-new clothes.

We never did that again. The house had a new rule:  We were forbidden to go through her closet. (Poor mites. We had to make do with the gigantic barrel full of her dresses, shoes, purses, scarves, jewelry, and other accessories she had previously donated to play time.)

A couple of years ago, I moved back into my parents’ home. Yesterday, I broke a rule. I stole from her closet again. When I awoke on Mother’s Day—my first Mother’s Day without my Mom—I was missing her. I went to her closet and took out a robe that she liked. I wore it all day. I was still wearing it in the afternoon when, on eBay, while looking for something else entirely, I chanced upon a tea set that looked familiar.

When the new old pieces arrive, I’ll slip them into Mom’s curio cabinet, next to the other pieces that survived our childhood. And I will invite my sister to tea—very careful tea—the next time she’s in town.

I know most people don’t need to hear it, but perhaps I need to say it, so forgive me if this next bit feels at all preachy.

Don’t ever take your Mom for granted. Enjoy every single minute that you can with her and, whenever you get the chance, make the effort to return her most special things, like Generosity of Spirit, Undivided Attention, and Unconditional Love.

Happy Mother’s Day, a little bit late.



May 11, 2020 at 5:11 pm 2 comments

Never Forget

As time passes, we grow taller, we go grayer. We live and learn. We spread our wings and hit the earth with a thud. We swallow big wormy bites of knowledge. Our hopeful little faces get shoved behind the curtain for a good long look. And magic slips away, like baby teeth taken by force instead of fairies.

I’m five decades in, and I know storybooks are fiction. I know the good guy doesn’t always win. I’m well aware that things don’t turn out according to plan. I have figured out that the broken places are weaker, not stronger (and I remain baffled by the origin and existence of many other pithy adages).

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not an unhappy person or a truly cynical one, but my soul wears a tattered cape, and Hope is an aged and weary soldier who, sometimes, late into an evening, talks of retiring. I know bad things happen. I know terrible things happen. I’ve heard the unexpected phone ring. I’ve held a fragile hand. It is an awful, awful truth that you reach an age when you’re wise enough to know that the end is near.

But, here’s the thing:  Experience does not equal omnipotence.

Sometimes, you sit in a hospital room and cry — for joy. Sometimes, luck is on your side. Sometimes, prayers are answered. Sometimes,­ the news is good.

This past Sunday, our family celebrated Mother’s Day with a low-key, quiet dinner. Nothing fancy. No big surprises. Just a simple gathering with good food, three generations at the table, and lots of hugging. Best. Mother’s Day. Ever.

Some weeks ago, my Mom wasn’t feeling well, and we didn’t know what was wrong. On April 24th, we found out:  She had a bilateral subdural hematoma, which is blood accumulating in the skull, putting pressure on the brain. At 8:00 a.m. on April 26, she went into surgery.

I will never forget how it felt to let go of her hand that morning. I will never forget how it felt to wait, and only wait, because it was impossible to read or eat or speak. I will never forget that, except for some incredible luck, the grace of God, and my parents’ dogged attempts to get a fourth opinion, we would have lost her — but that is an abyss from which I must back away. So, instead, I will end with this. I will never again forget this:

My entire life, my mother’s love has been a selfless, unwavering certainty. It has been as steady an aspect of my being as breathing. So much so, that I may have at times treated it like something ordinary. Or as if it were something of mine, like a possession I earned or a prize I deserved. But it’s not about me. It’s not about me at all. It’s all about her. And I don’t know what I would do or who I would be without it.

May 17, 2017 at 7:10 pm 2 comments

On a Serious Note . . .

Came across this Facebook post today and thought it worth sharing. (Well said, Melissa. Thank you.)

I sometimes fear the world overall is losing its capacity for common sense, critical thought, and empathy. I hope that is not the case. I hope it is just the nature of social media:  that we are exposed to so many millions of people, there are bound to be some really awful ones in the mix. I fear for children growing up in the midst of it, where such behavior could be seen as an example of what is proper, what is okay as a member of society, what is funny. It worries me. But perhaps that is age creeping up on me, for it is, after all, the elders’ job to worry about those coming next — not because we’re better than they are but because we love them so fiercely.

I do not claim perfection, in life or on Facebook. So please know I do not share this to preach at anybody but rather as an important reminder for us all. The human brain is capable of a multitude of thoughts:  simultaneous, swarming, soaring, nasty, beautiful, ugly, diverse thoughts. Being a decent human being doesn’t mean you never have a bad thought; it means you have learned what not to share.

Peace & Love.

June 16, 2016 at 8:48 am Leave a comment

Name 10 Books

booksBless me father, for I have coveted books. And I am likely to continue to do so.

I love books. I love to read books. Sometimes I hug books. I have a fair number of books. I want more books.

You may look at my books. I may even let you touch my books. You may not borrow my books.

In short, I love books more than I hate chain letters. So having been tagged via facebook to name 10 books that stayed with me, I wanted to do it. Although, as you will see, I failed miserably at the game’s rule to “not give it much thought.”

Asking me to name books is like asking a kid in a candy store to name candy. And, like M&Ms and my hips, more than 10 have stayed with me.

I did not begin reading with Dick and Jane. I began reading with Al and Kay. Snuggled on the couch or tucked in bed, being read to is one of my very earliest memories, binding forever the concepts of love and comfort to bits of paper and board.

(i.e., Dammit, I could pick 10 books that have stayed with me since before I could even read them.)

When I was seven years old, doctors still made house calls, and I was diagnosed as “reading too much.” The word dismay was not yet in my vocabulary, but I felt its meaning. I also felt it ease when Mom and the doctor left the room without noticing the book on my nightstand.

I got better. But I was not cured.

A few years later, I had a friend over for a play date. When she asked me what we should do, I suggested “reading.”

Reading is a most excellent past time. But it is important to also interact with real people. Else, you might go through life saying dis-heave’ld when you mean to say disheveled.

Aside from vocabulary, books will expand your soul. Books can make you laugh out loud. Books can make you sigh. Books will ping your heart with truth. Books are life preservers. The good books I have read, as much as my Daugherty hair and my Schmidt nose, are a part of who I am.

I have often thought it would be a great idea to get a book journal and keep track of what I’ve read, to capture where these bits and pieces of me came from.

I wish I’d done it long ago. But I finally ordered one from — at 2 a.m. last night when my list of 10 books was stuck firmly at 47 and I gave up for the night.

So, finally, agonizingly, and with a ridiculous amount of self-inflicted, painstaking consideration, here is my list of 10 books that have stayed with me.

The Mystery at the Lilac Inn, Carolyn Keene
A Wizard of Earthsea, Ursula K. Le Guin
Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger
Illusions, Richard Bach
Touch Not the Cat, Mary Stewart
Coyote Blue, Christopher Moore
Herb & Lorna, Eric Kraft
Dandelion Wine, Ray Bradbury
The Shipping News, E. Annie Proulx
The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald

I tag Tracy D., Valerie G., and Dan T. Good luck.

September 18, 2014 at 3:40 pm 3 comments

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