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May 12, 2013: Mother’s Day, Daughter’s Day

I’ve never paid too much attention to Mother’s Day. It’s in May. Sometimes the trees are in bloom (here, not this year). It’s either coming up or it’s already happened. Like other holidays of this sort, it’s a way for flower, candy, and card companies to make yet another fistful of change. It’s also a holy day of obligation, like Easter. Someone, somewhere, is going to remind you to make note of it.

I still (amazingly) have a mother that’s alive and kicking – mine, at 82, has defied the odds. Most her age have passed on. And most of those who have passed on took far better care of themselves than she did earlier on.

But my mother has rallied. Over the years some of her not so good habits – drinking, smoking being foremost – have fallen by the wayside. And lately, she’s given serious thought to shoring up her diet. For instance, when I recently visited her, she’d begun to give some serious thought as to what she eats. She in fact mentioned that she ought not have purchased prepackaged, cooked macaroni and cheese, that it probably isn’t that good for her. However, mother is still mother. I then asked “what about the glazed donut holes that are sitting over there on the counter?” Her response was “well, I have to have some fun food around!”

This particular mother’s day actually makes for a marked turn in our relationship with one another. We’re now getting along far better than previously. How to explain? I’m mystified. I think that we finally determined that we’d set aside our differences and try and be more civil to one another. This, on my part was prompted by her having seizures and having been hospitalized. It’s quite one thing to have a knee or an elbow replacement. But to have a seizure – that’s one degree more life threatening.

I can’t say that I suddenly saw the light. But when I felt tension growing, I walked away, took a deep breath, and changed the subject upon my return. Okay, maybe I did this once. Maybe. Rather, this is ideally what I would have done if I was the Dali Lama and practiced at doing this. Ideally. I think that my mother, at times, would even test his patience.

Instead, I just blundered along, and as best I could, kept my more negative emotions in check, and gave free rein to my more positive ones. The outcome was this – I now feel pretty good about the outcome. I know that I accomplished something major.

Joseph Campbell writes about what he calls the hero’s journey – noting that what we’re all striving for as we continue our metaphorical treks is self-enlightenment. I think that both my mother and I are on separate, but related journeys.

So this is where we are now at. This morning I called Sally (this is what my sister Eleanor calls her) and wished her a happy mother’s day, and asked her many, many questions about her new place. Previously, I’d ask her questions, and there would be no, or short, curt responses. This time she was a bit more talkative. And she did ask me a few questions. The conversation was still halting. But it was nevertheless, a conversation. Indeed, we are making progress.

Next: 133:5/13/13: Holding Pattern