Sunday, May 8, 2016

Mothers Always Know

Today is Mother's Day--not everywhere in the world, but pretty much everywhere around these parts and quite frankly in all the places you or I are ever likely to go or be, so that's a good deal. I've heard that florists sell more flowers, that more greeting cards are bought and mailed and that more telephone calls are made on this one day in the United States than on any other day of the year, all of which underscores how significant so many of us see this day as being. 

My mother grew up as the second-oldest child, and the second daughter in a large family. In the course of her life, her older sister, all three of her younger brothers and her husband of nearly thirty years have died. She and her husband, my father, had six children in two cohorts. I have no idea how many grandchildren she has, but I know she knows and that's what's important. 

She is a breast cancer survivor who could, in light of how often she has been dealt from the bottom of the deck, be a very different person than the tiny and more fragile-than-I-remember-her-from-the-last-time woman who calls me on my birthday or at Christmas, before she walks across the street to the beach (she lives in Florida because she hates snow) and who is always ready to offer advice, when asked, on any topic under the sun but who never pushes her viewpoint because she doesn't want to seem bossy. 

My wife's mom lives farther away from us than Florida. She lives in Offenbach, Germany, and is about the same age as my mother. They met once, a long time ago, when Oma America, as our daughter Michelle, calls my mother, came to visit and had afternoon coffee with Oma Germany. My wife's mom's husband passed away many years ago, after we arrived here in the States, but still years ago, and my wife's family is a bit smaller than mine--two younger sisters and a younger brother. My wife speaks to her on the phone on a regular basis and, if I'm about when this happens, I always manage to get a shout out in for 'Mutti!' 

Both Moms were born in a world in the throes of the Great Depression, lived much of their teen years in a world at war, and then had and raised their own families in the uneasy truce that followed as the world that was then, created terrors and technology that have become the landscape of the world that is, now.

Like your Mom, my mother and my wife's mother aren't in the pages of a history book someplace, though, without being indelicate about this, we have an opportunity to have a history at all because of them. I've wondered how different, and better, this world would be if Moms were in charge. 

Let's face it, they were always wizards patching scraped knees from the playground and broken hearts from the same place. Moms could also assemble that science fair project from stuff under the sink the night before it was due, and they were always available to quiz you before those Friday spelling tests. 

Why would 'real world' issues like arms control or the flood of refugees, or the establishment of universal health care (everywhere) be too hard for them? Moms make miracles happen every day.

"Lift up your hearts and sing me a song,
That was a hit before your mother was born.
Though she was born a long, long time ago,
Your mother should know. Your mother should know."
Happy Mother's Day.
-bill kenny

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