Posts tagged ‘Mother’s Day’

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

Motherly Advice

In honor of my Mom, my Aunt Mitzie, my Grandma Schmidt, my Grandma Daugherty, my Aunts Mae, Betty, Jean, Marie, Ann, Margie, Theresa, Pat, and Jo, and my other-mother Elain W., I’m taking a little break from Prepare to Make Your Home Look as if Your Mom Taught You Well Day to consider some of the things I learned from these incredible women:

  • Respect your elders. Mind your manners. Brush your teeth. Get along with your siblings. Don’t horse around on the stairs. 
  • A bit of confidence, a touch of courage, and some common sense can conquer just about anything.
  • If no one knows the spaghetti missed the colander and fell into the sink, you can still serve it.
  • Clothing does not define a person, but look your best for church and special occasions.
  • Men are marvelous, and True Love does indeed exist. However, when need be, a woman can kill bugs by herself.
  • Don’t do stupid shit.
  • Driving is a serious responsibility.
  • Work hard. But make time for play.
  • People are more complicated than we can ever know. Those who may seem difficult to love may be more in need of it than those who move through the world with ease. 
  • Backing into a fire hydrant isn’t the end of the world.
  • Happiness trumps societal expectations. Company trumps chores. And hearts trump clubs.
  • Try again despite failure and fear.
  • If you don’t know which fork to use, select one with confidence and people will follow your lead while admiring your fine manners.
  • Play by the rules. It makes occasions for breaking them that much more fun.
  • Life is hard. Heartbreak happens. But it is not an excuse.
  • Painkillers are over-rated.
  • Don’t swear. Unless it’s really warranted.
  • Home-made things and time spent are better than any gift money can buy.
  • Be kind. Be generous. Be helpful. But don’t let the assholes take advantage.

Happy Mother’s Day to the beautiful, witty, brilliant Life Preservers who raised me up, who led by example, who taught me right from wrong, who liked me despite my faults, who loved me and delighted me as a child, who gladly, sweetly, humorously, gracefully welcomed me into the club of adulthood.

I thank you. I love you.

Happy Mother’s Day!

May 12, 2012 at 5:43 am 1 comment

The Best Mom in the World

Here is a very short list of wonderful Mom things.

1. My mom packed our lunches every day for school. And she’d leave little notes on the napkin.

2. When we were kids, she would make us (well, me and my sister only) a special Christmas dress every year.

3. Sit down family dinner–every night.

4. Georgie Girl and Galway Bay and a gazillion other piano tunes. She’d play. I’d sit beside her and sing along.  

5. She tucked us in at night: prayers, a story, and a kiss with a “Sweet dreams” or “Off to Lily White’s party” or “Shuffle off to Buffalo” or “Don’t let the bed bugs bite!”

6. She taught me how to cook, clean, sew, and iron. Not that the student has gone on to do great things, but I can handle that stuff when I need to thanks to her.

7. Her presentation of “the birds and the bees” was straightforward and loving. (And extra points for poise because it began one quiet day while we were merrily making a puzzle in the living room, and I blurted out, “Hey Mom, what does f— mean?”) (And I didn’t use the dashes that time.)

8. She taught me to walk, to talk, to wipe my bottom, to eat my veggies, to draw, to write my name, to hit a softball, to play volleyball, to put on eye shadow, to pick out a fancy dress, to waltz, to play Perquackey, to drive a car.

9. She taught me the joy to be found in simple things and the fun to be had spur of the moment. 

10. She taught us to be honest and fair. And to take responsibility for our actions.

11. She taught us to be resilient, grounded non-wimps—but she also had a great big shoulder, an understanding heart, and unquestionable love when the tragedies of childhood broke me.

12. She is still there for me. 

I could go on for days with examples and memories, but I need to stop now to prepare the house and plan a meal for Mother’s Day tomorrow.

(How she did this sort of thing on a daily basis, I will never know.)

One day doesn’t seem anywhere near a fair trade for the most giving person I know. All I can say is that I am grateful. And I know I am blessed. And I know, in at least one thing in life, I am the luckiest person in the world.

Happy Mother’s Day to my very first and most significant life preserver.

What makes your mom the Best Mom in the World?

May 8, 2010 at 4:19 am 1 comment


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