Sunday, May 13, 2018

Mother's Day

Because we are an international family, I once suggested to my daughter we celebrate Mother's Day in Germany, France and Switzerland where we were living and she could throw in America as well. It isn't always celebrated the same day all over the world.

She didn't go for it.

I was kidding. My daughter treats me well every day and I don't need special recognition. She gives it to me often enough. I don't do well on forced holidays.

I think of my own mothers, yes plural.

My birth mother was both my good mother and my enemy. When I was growing up she was there for me, we did things together because we wanted to. There was the downside where she was a helicopter mother before the term was invented and over protection included not being allowed out of our yard (even it was 14 acres) until I was a teen. On the other hand she paid for driver education so I didn't have to wait a year.

When I was little we told double stories with each of us taking part. Like me, she was a writer.

On the other hand she tried to annul my marriage after having me arrested at 20 as a stubborn child for trying to elope. That the marriage failed had nothing to do with her. She tried to get custody of my daughter although social services found that I was an excellent mother. As the social worker said, "I wish all cases turned out like yours."

It took me many years to see beyond the later years to remember the good. A friend once said to me when I was whining about my mother, "She didn't ruin your life and you are stronger either in spite or because of her." It was then I began to let the good in. There were even some things I copied in raising my daughter, the good ones, not the bad.

On the other hand, my stepmom and I only had one cross word and that was when I put away a hot iron which was a no-no in her home. She never used "my children and yours" to my dad. They were "ours."  I loved being with her, although playing cards turned her into a shark. After my Dad died and before I moved to Europe she spend summers with me.

She visited me in Europe and left a hole when she went home.

Her dementia was extremely hard. Between her grandson and myself we were able to make sure she was taken care of. Her death was a relief combined with my sadness at the way she lost herself.

Despite her dementia she was always sweet. A few weeks before her death she was voted Queen of the Nursing Home.

Motherhood is a funny thing, a strange bond. I've seen it from both sides.

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