As much as we both despise Mother's Day, you have to admit that it does offer some glorious time for reflection on the nature of family and the ever-evolving relationships carried within. It has been several years since I publicly informed the world that not only do I love and respect my mother, but that I actually like you and adore spending time with you. For some women, this admission would be tantamount to smearing one's body with honey and running naked through the forest, but for me it was a natural as breathing.
I think that my mother is probably one of the most fascinating, brilliant, and talented people I know.
Now that I have said all of that, I can hear her cries of self-derision and embarrassment pulsating through my screen. But frankly Mom, it's time you listened and truly took to heart what I know to be true about you, even if you yourself can't see it.
You complain vociferously that you aren't smart enough or clever enough. This nonsense is being spewed by the same woman who worked her ass off and persevered through dyslexia, at a time when it wasn't on any educator's radar, to shatter old-time quotas placed on Jewish women entering nursing. You followed your passion when it wasn't always easy or "ladylike" to do so, and you lived it because you felt it completed you. How could your daughter not look at that drive and determination and not see a brilliant and powerfully independent woman?
And you have never rested on your laurels.
You continue to study, learn, create, beautify, interact, engage, experience, seek out, and acquire new ideas and skills. Your self-deprecation, while charming at times, infuriates the shit out of me. (And yes..I know that you wish I didn't swear so much.) I wish you could see what I see, but you come from a generation that pushed its boys forward into the limelight while allowing its girls to remain quietly in the shadows. You have never been shy about expressing yourself with me, but out in the world you prefer to stay buried in the background. I have never been able to fully reconcile these two sides of you. The greatest gift that you ever gave me was to push me out of my own comfort zone and onto a public stage where my gifts would be recognized and appreciated. Do you honestly believe that I could have achieved all that I have without your counsel, wisdom, guidance, critical eye, and unwavering support?
You have been my confidante, my guidepost, my biggest fan and my most needed and essential critic. You have been my shoulder to cry on, my organizational guru, my therapist, my role model, my mentor, and my friend. You are my rock. Our daily conversations (sometimes many) are sustenance to me.
There is no disputing that these have been challenging times for you, Mom. Nobody, least of all me, expects you to ever be fully whole again. There is a part of you that is broken and perhaps beyond repair. That's ok. It really is. Just accept it. But, I would like to think that maybe you are being remodelled, much in the way that fractured bones mend. There is a perpetual weakness where the break occurred, and even pangs of sharp pain on occasion, but there is strength in the resoluteness of the core to continue on and make the most of what is left. That strength has always been a part of you. You just need to dig fairly deep down to summon it now. I have no doubt that you will. There is still so much left for you to experience; so much that is yet to come.
I love you, Mom. But more importantly, I like you. Not in a smarmy "Sally Field" kind of like, but rather a true admiration and esteem. Our relationship is one of the true joys of my life.
Oh...and by the way...this is your Mother's Day present! (Yes...you taught me sarcasm as well!)