Do you know where you could be next Friday, May 18? Well, OK, but assuming that you’ve had to reschedule the Kenyan safari because your executive jet needs waxing, do you know where else you could be? Right! You could be showing up at our “Information & Assistance/Staying Independent Fair” at Grays Harbor College Riverview Education Center in Raymond! (That’s at 600 Washington Ave., if that helps)
Professional guest speakers, exhibits, screenings, clinics, door prizes, a free lunch (as long as they last) and quite a few very sharp people who will talk to you (and listen to you) on the subject of how to stay where most of us claim we want to stay – at home.
Is FREE OK? OK! Friday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., in Raymond. Don’t worry; they’ll call you when the jet’s ready.
I know what you’re thinking, and Yes: I do know what day it is, and unless you’ve been rudely rousted from a comfy coma in the last six hours, so do you: Today is Mother’s Day.
Given the newspaper ads, the TV commercials, the radio commercials and the less-than-subtle in-store displays, it would have required a Herculean effort to NOT know that it’s Mother’s Day. And, of course, many Mothers themselves unabashedly find understated ways of reminding potentially errant offspring of this ostensibly happy occasion, like taping the jewelry store’s flier across the toilet seat or accidentally emailing the web address for “Flowers r Us” to the entire state of New Mexico, etc. Point is, you probably already know that Mother’s Day is upon us.
HEY, look! Mother’s Day does seem like a good idea! I mean, Gee, who doesn’t want to do something nice for their Mother, right? So, why not, right? I mean, Mothers deserve a day, right?
No. Most Mothers deserve five years, all-expenses-paid, on Tahiti without an offspring in the time zone, but let’s not bicker.
At any rate, here we are and, knowing full well that I can’t attempt to rival the prose or poetry of Browning, Keats or Hallmark on the near-religious topic of “motherhood,” I’ve decided to adapt my usual Christmas tradition of providing last-minute gift ideas to this happy Mother-May-I holiday; thus, here’s my suggestion to irresponsible (or recently revived) children for what to do for Mom at this late date, with no reservations available at McDonald’s: Forgive her.
That’s what I said: Forgive her.
Some of you know immediately what I’m talking about, some of you will feign shock and amazement and everybody else is still in that coma – I think that covers most of us.
Making babies is one of those things that humans just keep doing on a staggeringly frequent basis, for any number of reasons, including none at all, other than the “making” seemed to be a good idea, at the time. And, unless Mom was provided with a true manual on how to raise kids sanely, she likely made it up as she went along, doing the best she could with what she had.
She may have had access to her own mother, who was quick to provide expert advice based on little more than her own guesswork and/or her mother’s hand-me-down expertise, carefully proliferating everything that worked well and everything that was permanently damaging with the same religious fervor.
Or, she might have applied religious fervor! Her church, minister, church teachings, congregate congregants, scripture, interpretations of scripture and/or interpretations of interpretations, or … she might have read other books! Or listened to tapes. Or taken classes. Or, done a complete 180 degree turnaround from the way she was raised, because “…I will NEVER do that to my children!”
It doesn’t really matter, because here’s what happened, regardless of what approach or avenue Mom took to childrearing: She screwed it up. How could she not? If she was capable of doing it perfectly, she’d have her own church!
But, I’ll bet she doesn’t. And we’re damaged. We’re ALL damaged. We’ve ALL always BEEN damaged! She’s damaged, I’m damaged, you’re damaged – everybody’s damaged, and way too many of us are wasting way too much time and energy being mad about it!
Unless you were (or are) a true victim of sick, mindless brutality (and if you are, I’m truly sorry), then you’re probably like most of the rest of us – A little messed up. But here’s something I know: Mom did the best she could with what she had. And whether or not it was (or is) immediately obvious to you, in her own strange way, she loved you. Am I asking everybody to forget everything and magically become one, big, loving, Leave-it-to-Beaver family? Hardly.
I’m just suggesting that a lot of us quit wasting time – and perfectly good resentment – over something that is long since over, and long since gone.
Forgive her. Maybe you love her, maybe you don’t, and maybe you’ll tell her and maybe you won’t, but forgive her. She did the best she could, because she loved you. And do it while you can, because you don’t have forever.
Then forgive yourself.
Then go tape this across the toilet seat.
Happy Mother’s Day.
Mark Harvey is the director of Senior Information and Assistance for Olympic Area on Aging. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 532-0520 in Aberdeen, (360) 942-2177 in Raymond or (360) 642-3634. FACEBOOK: Olympic Area Agency on Aging-Information & Assistance.