For some reason, Mother’s Day, this year, has me distracted. Maybe, it is having seen ten years of children and parents move through my life. Maybe, I’m in awe of the unyielding devotion and support I see from the parents of my students. It could be that I just miss my mom. Over the weekend, I searched for a picture of her, where she is a “hot mom”. She is standing next to her green Ford LTD, wearing shorts, a red top, her famous bun, and Jackie O. sunglasses. I couldn’t find it.
I chose this picture because it was when I didn’t know her, and that seems fascinating.
She passed away seventeen years ago.
My Aunt Evelyn and my grandmother came to care-take my mother during the last months of her cancer battle. They lived in New York, and they traveled back and forth for six months. Both ladies have since passed, and Mother’s Day is always full of memories of them. They showed me selflessness and forgiveness.
I found my ballet pictures. Aside from the fact that I came to the brutal realization that I still wear my hair like this, I remember her taking the pictures. I didn’t understand why it was so important for her to take this photo, but now, the idea of capturing random moments of our children’s days, makes sense.
Although my life took a different direction, the fact that I was encouraged and supported, made a difference. I found two other pictures in my search. They were of me and my daughter, striking similar ballet poses-we were both about seven. I was hit with the realization that we know and understand our children more than we think we do. We are more similar than dissimilar. It is possible, that we may have had the same thoughts when those photos were taken-on two separate days, twenty-five years apart. As I was looking through the pictures, I saw the generations of mothers in my family. Black and white pictures from one era swiftly changed to the color pictures of another.
I thought of this the other night, after both of my girls finished performing in, Alice in Wonderland. I have a couple of students in the production, and their moms have been there, sewing, painting, bringing snacks, and supporting their children through late nights and homework. I saw the parents of the teens in the show, ironing, cleaning, doing hair, sitting in the audience, and radiating with pride.
Next week is our performance of Cinderella. Today, as we were rehearsing, there were three moms in my classroom; creating props. They also brought snacks for the entire cast. Each told me to call them if there was anything else I needed before the big day.
Years ago, I had a student in my class who had a brain tumor removed the previous summer. The family was overwhelmed with treatments and doctor visits. Somehow, his mom would find time to bake me, “naan”. If you don’t know, this is probably the best bread in the world. She would make sure it was warm and tightly wrapped in foil. She was always smiling and joyful. This woman, this mom-made a difference.
I became a step mom when I was twenty-three. I think of that now, and wonder how my step kids ever took me seriously. Especially, when they were in trouble, and I had to go be the “parent”. Having been a mom for this long makes me think I should be an expert by now. Not so much…there are days that I wish I were back on that ferry to Capri, listening to U2, on my Sony Walkman. Sometimes, I wish I could stomp upstairs, slam the door, and blare my music. Being a mom requires that we remember when we weren’t moms, when we had bad hair and odd boyfriends. When we fought against the rules, and pretended not to care.
This past summer, my eldest daughter and I watched Beaches. The last scene, where Bette is on stage, and singing to her best friend’s daughter, tears me up every time. I watched that movie with my mom. She was crying, and I remember thinking, “Why on earth are we watching this?” I didn’t get a comment from my daughter, just an odd look. I had to giggle, because I knew exactly what that look meant.
Maybe, this weekend, we will watch, Terms of Endearment.
Happy Mother’s Day