My mother came out to visit me a few weeks ago.
And I had a nice time.
Now, when I was a younger person, those two sentences could not have possibly gone together unless they were followed by an unceremonious dig (“And I had a nice time ... as soon as she climbed on her broom and flew away!”) or a slight choking sound as the words went down roughly. And I would guess her answer would have probably gone the same way. Yes, there were some bumpy roads we’ve traveled both together and apart, and I’m guessing all the roads we travel hence will not be paved with gold, but it’s nice to hit this stage.
We can really enjoy each other’s company.
I’ve been interested lately in this dynamic — the delicate balance parents must have in being the voice of authority to a child, as well as building a friendship. I’ve heard people say that it’s important that you have a friendship with your children as they’re growing up so they’ll be comfortable enough to share things with you and you can truly have an impact on their lives. And, on the flip side, I’ve heard the argument that you can’t be your kid’s “buddy” — that you have to be the one clearly in charge until the child becomes an adult, and then you can be friends.
And, of course, there are those who do neither. We all know them, some of us have been them or been raised by them, and we’re all pretty much in agreement that it’s not the way to go in parenting.
And now that I’ve completely digressed, let’s get back to our story.
While contemplating how to write this Mother’s Day piece for my mother, I decided to take a deep look at myself (not always a pretty reflection) and pick out those traits or characteristics that come straight from Mom. Here goes...
• For starters, thanks for the nose. I get smaller ears than a midget frog, and a nose that should have its own congressman. I know, it’s been passed down generations and it’s something I should be thankful for that I get to continue the tradition. Some things, like this nose and ridiculous sweaters at Christmas time, are traditions that should cease immediately.
• Your love of Latin and English certainly contributed to my fascination with the English language, and pushed me down a career path that I love. Your artistic proficiency with profanity led me to be a really popular guy at the playground.
• Lady, you’re competitive, and I’m sure that contributed a bit to my love with playing sports and tossing chips around various poker tables. Oh, the games themselves are fun to play, but nothing tops beating somebody into submission.
• Movies, movies, movies. I remember many times when you were glued to the television watching old black and white movies, and I know that you now see basically every movie released in its first week in theaters. Sure, my tastes in cinema point more towards things blowing up, tops coming off or midgets running fast, but I think you see the connection.
• We’re both Irish. Small world, huh?
• We both think that Brett, your youngest child and my baby sister, is a danger to society at large, and should be stopped immediately, before her reign of terror can spread out across the globe and leave children shaking in their boots while...
But I digress — even though it is true.
• Fine, I admit it. I like the Beatles. I spent a lifetime denying that to you, but I like them. Now don’t get yourself thinking we’re going to have grand sing-a-longs to those songs you tortured me with as a child, but, yeah, I like the Beatles.
We could go on and on with this list, I’m afraid, but let’s cut it off right here.
Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. You’ve given me characteristics and traits over the years that helped form me, and I promise not to hold that against you. I love you.
I also feel compelled to offer Mother’s Day wishes to a few other individuals while I’m at it. So, Happy Mother’s Day to Kathy Adkins, Susan Lyons, Sara Hoban, Shirley Cobb, Page Lyons, Beth Long, Jane Johnson, Chris Allen, Monica Fleming, Tricia Titus, Jaime McNamee, Beth Orndorff, Emily Delledonne, Sarah Dooling, Jody Kutch and Kate Rocokz. Please forgive me for the ones I missed.
And, I guess I need to do this.
Happy Mother’s Day, Brett. You’re a rotten little sister, and an absolute horror movie as a daughter, but I have to say this — you are an absolutely spectacular mother, and are raising two beautiful, sweet little boys. You’re a terrific Mom, and should be proud.