Dear Mom

Me, freshly brought into this world
Mother's Day is almost one of those Hallmark Holidays. It's falling into that category not because of the pressure to buy things, though that's certainly there. Rather, it's the sort of dull, mental imprinting that happens when a holiday rolls around every year for generations but lacks the religious gravitas of an Easter or Christmas, or the improvised social celebration of Thanksgiving or St Patrick's Day.

A sure sign of this are the people chirping "Happy Mother's Day" to everybody they interact with, despite the fact that they might not be mothers or might not have mothers any longer.  Carolyn informed me people do this at the grocery store. Since I work in IT, I have the luxury of not having to interact with human beings directly so I had no idea this was happening. Her coworkers are starting to ask for the day off. Like singles on Valentine's Day, people are beginning to avoid the society of others on Mother's Day.

I say "almost" because Mother's Day still carries something unique about it.  Mom.

We walk different paths in this life but all of us carry a common gratitude to our mothers for bringing us into the world.  Whatever else happened in our lives to enrich or impoverish our relationships with our mothers, we have that. So while our shoulders might sag a bit at the thought of having to actually do something for Mother's Day, we do remember. And as long as we have a Mother to thank, we try to thank them.

This is where I've come up a bit short.

My brother lives close enough to take her out for brunch. My sister and I are grateful he's there to do that, but we're also a bit jealous. Not only does he get to see mom, he gets to do something nice for her that's a slam-dunk for Mother's Day. Living on the other side of the country, Mallory and I have to think about it and come up with something. We have a somewhat checkered track record with that.

It would have been easier if we'd had kids. When you're family with kids, you can kind of shift your attention from your mother to your spouse and press gang the kids into making breakfast or a Happy Mother's Day card made of macaroni glued on a piece of cardboard. When you sort of forgot to have kids and mom lives 3000 miles away, your options are pretty much reduced to sending her stuff.

My sister and I have been doing this for decades. Over the years we've sent flowers, cards, something that might be useful when she travels, knitting and weaving books, you name it. I think I sent her a shearling steering wheel cover once (that was actually a winner). Last year I sent her a 10lb tub of Epsom salts and with that, pretty much acknowledged that I had run out of ideas and thrown in the towel. 

The thing is, we're all kind of old now. We have houses full of stuff. We've been conditioned by our culture and geography to express our gratitude by adding to that pile of stuff. But we really don't need any more.

So Mom, you're getting a blog post for Mother's Day! Think of it as the Mother's Day macaroni card 2.0.

You have been, and still are, an inspiration. You still insist on driving a stick. You built yourself a house that, to this day, embodies "home" to me despite the fact that the location freaked us out and you built it next to a swamp and a den of black bears who come to visit sometimes. You love that. You do aqua aerobics at the Bard pool across the street from the house we grew up in. You used to run with Hunter Thompson in the 50's, which is still the coolest thing in the world. You outlived two husbands (and Hunter Thompson) and managed to survive raising me, my sister, and my brother. I mean, we weren't horrible but it couldn't have been easy.  I know I speak for my sister and brother when I say we love you and we wouldn't be here without you, which sort of goes without saying. Thanks for the memories. All of the memories.

Happy Mother's Day. I should warn you, you're not going to get one of these every year. Next year it's back to iPad cases and Dr. Who paraphernalia.


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