For me, even though Earl declared it Mother's Day weekend, starting Friday with lunch out, I've felt a little lonely for my mother, who lives in Florida, and for my daughter, who's at college in New York.
Don't get me wrong. I've been wined and dined and gifted. When one of my sons woke me at 3 a.m. after a bad dream, he remembered to tell me Happy Mother's Day in the middle of the night. I got flowers from my daughter, good smelling Aveda products from my husband and sons, and a mustard-yellow fondue pot from my oldest son who went to the garage sales yesterday. I had coffee with friends, went to a writing conference, attended dance class with my husband and stopped for drinks on an outdoor terrace in the sunshine. I have no reason to complain about the amount of attention I received on Mother's Day.
I have been thinking, however, about what makes a good mother. Some days, I know I'm a good mother. Other days, I don't quite reach that high bar.
What I have decided is that everything good I know about being a mother, I learned from my mother.
Here she is young and in love with my dad.
Some of the snapshots I have in my mind are the tough times my mom overcame, raising four little kids and crying into a dish towel. Then I think of her jumping rope with us in the slanted driveway with her teased hairdo.
She finished college while raising four children. She worked full time as a teacher. She took kids to baseball and basketball and brownies. I remember every time she raised her voice at us, because it happened so rarely.
I remember my mom being calm, and mostly loving us more than anything else. And that's what I tried to give my kids.
Here's a picture of mom and dad with my two brothers and me at Christmas time.
I haven't always been the best wife, and sometimes I've jumped off the cliff of crazy mothering, but most of the time, I've tried to accept my kids for who they are and let them know that I love them.
This mom experiment is still under way for me, but for my mom, I just want you to know that you did a great job. I always felt loved. I always felt that no matter how I messed up, I could talk to you about and you would tell me that everything would turn out okay. And it has.