Here’s a picture of my daughter with her mother in December 2015. My friend Alice took it. Perhaps my daughter was just tired. Or maybe she needed her mother’s shoulder.
It’s interesting how the demarcation of emotional responsibilities in our household lies. I’d like to think of myself as the Cool Dad. Yet it was my wife who managed to remember the names of the seven members of BTS and tell them apart, back when my daughter was into them heavily in the past couple of years. While I catch a greater number of my daughter’s current lingo references – though by no means all – my wife picks up some things from her students that simply was oblivious to.
After my father-in-law died in April 2020, I think her three serving children were worried about their mother. But, in many ways, she’s been surprisingly resilient. And pragmatic. In some ways, my wife is very much like her mother. In the past, when I pointed this out, my wife resisted the comparison. Now, she pretty much owns it.
My mother-in-law and I get along pretty well. She refers to me as her favorite son-in-law. Of course, I’m her ONLY son-in-law. But I’ll take it anyway.
I continue to miss my own mother. This Mother’s Day is a lot easier than the holiday in 2011 when I was dealing with being an Orphaned Adult for the first time. It’s odd, but my recollections of her as my mom when I was growing up are spotty.
Part of that, I suppose, is because she worked outside of the home, primarily in the accounting department of McLean’s department store in downtown Binghamton, NY. In fact, I remember walking downtown and going to her office on the fourth or fifth floor, often enough that her co-workers recognized me after a while.
The one specific “mom” thing I remember involved me playing baseball in Valley Street park. I was pitching, and the batter, Aline, hit the ball back at me and hit me in my left temple. She called the doctor who told her that I might have a concussion. So every couple of hours, she’d come into my room and gently wake me up.
The history of Mother’s Day is as Day of Peace. Here’s part of Julia Ward Howe’s proclamation in 1870:
“Arise, then, women of this day! Arise all women who have hearts, whether our baptism be that of water or of tears!… We women of one country will be too tender of those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs. From the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with our own. It says “Disarm, Disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance of justice.”
Sometimes, you just need your mother.