Earlier this week I sat down to dinner with some of the people who know me best.
Some are married, some divorced, and others never married; some are gay and some are straight; some have kids while others don’t; and some are well-physically and/or financially, and some are struggling.
And some are 60, and some are not.
You see, it’s a big year for the group of women I call my friends. We grew up together and are all in the process of crossing this milestone to the other side of the big 6-oh. So far, in each month in 2018, a group has gotten together to celebrate those who have hit the mark, and I love seeing the pictures of the get-togethers.
This past week I had the opportunity, for the second time this year, to be part of the party.
We’re only a cross-section, mind you, of a much larger group that has somehow managed to stay connected, even though it’s been decades since we drove through the village in each other’s’ cars, up to the beach and back in an endless loop on a Friday night, hung out at the pizzeria when it was new, snuck out or stayed out into the middle of the night, celebrated football and basketball and class plays and loves and losses and all of the things you’re supposed to share with the people who mean the most to you.
And on that note, our conversation turned to—no surprise—those other people who love us unconditionally, who somehow, no matter what we do, always manage to be there to pick us up and help us to pick up the pieces.
Those people are our mothers.
We all had one at one time, and I’m pretty sure that most of my classmates—boys and girls alike—had their mothers in the picture to keep them on the straight and narrow back then(OK, as much as they could).
But now, as I looked at the women at dinner last week, I thought about those whose moms weren’t here this Mother’s Day….out of ten, I’d say half had lost theirs, and for the rest of us…well, we see what’s coming.
There’s something about the bond between mothers and daughters that is unlike any other relationship we enter into throughout our lives. And I bet if most of us looked back on what we put them through, we’d be amazed they stuck with us….and that somehow we weren’t grounded for most of high school (and, if they could have seen us, probably all of college.)
On this Mother’s Day, I’d like to write about my mother: I’d like to tell you about what it was like for her being a single parent at 39 with two kids to raise (one of who—ahem—was a bit of a wild child); I’d like to tell you about how and why she lost her faith (and that I understand); I’d like to write about how hard she worked, both outside and inside the home, for years; and I’d like to tell you about how and where she has found happiness throughout her life. I’d also share what it’s like for her now, as she enters into her 90’s—her struggles, and the small pleasures she gets between the doctor visits and the loss of friends, which seem to come more and more frequently (in fact, she got a call this afternoon….).
But that’s all I’m going to say, because my mother is a very private person and if she knew I’d written this much, she’d be upset.
Actually, what I will write about is what she’s given me: my work ethic, my sense of adventure, security in my own motherhood, my warped sense of humor, my ability to know the difference between right and wrong (and to almost always choose wisely), and heaps of privilege, advantage, and usually a car (sorry, kidding, but not really–she still loves a good, classic car and always shared her enthusiasm–and the keys–with me). So for all of those things I can thank her.
Back to my girls. They’ve agreed to hold next month’s celebration when I’m back in town, and I can’t thank them enough for that. Seeing them, and staying in touch via social media with others scattered around the globe means the world to me—especially this year, where it seems that everything—my career, my personal life, and ugh, my age, is shifting pretty dramatically.
And even though we’re not blood, the bond I have with all of these women is one that has and will continue to endure. So, I do think, in that sense, we are stepping in to fill that role our mothers trained us for—to support, to laugh, to cry, to talk and to listen—to be the surrogates we need and the ones we want to be.
Happy Mother’s Day to all of you out there!