Sunday, 13 May 2007

chocolate and gratitude

The Australian cure for colds, the flu, and emotional turmoil, is apparently rest and as much chocolate as you can eat. I am assured by my Aussie friend Sally (who is brilliant and could not be wrong) that this is true. I did witness the effectiveness of this treatment last winter when Sally had a bugger of a cold, really verging on pneumonia it was! Rest and chocolate, and she was right as rain. I love that some things are true.

Why we write:

I have been contemplating the act of being grateful. This train of thought was brought on in part by coming across the facts I posted last night that have to do with the state of the world, and that today is Mother’s Day. I have so much to be grateful for, not the least of which is the knowledge that I should be grateful as redundant as that might sound. And how empowering gratitude is, rather than submissive as might be thought. I have found in my personal experience that people who are not grateful are bitter. You know those people, “I never get what I deserve. I should have won that. She never works hard at anything and she gets everything I want. I could have been so much more if I’d had a break.” Those are unhappy people.

I had some unbearable losses, yet I did bear them and found joy again. I am everyday grateful for that joy. I have recently been made aware that Mother’s Day is not a day of rejoicing for everyone, or even a non-holiday as it is for some, but for others it is a day of profound sadness and a reminder of what they have never had – a child of their own. Now I have never had a mother of my own so I have some insight into how this day can affect those of us with unusual circumstances.

I don’t think it is age or years that give us the wisdom to be grateful, but our experiences and how we react to them. His Holiness the Dali Lama said the coolest thing when a reporter asked him if he thought the invasion of Tibet by the Chinese was karma for some past evil act. He said, “Sometimes stuff just happens. It is how we respond to those circumstances that forms our karma.”

I have been made aware over the years that not everyone is fortunate enough to find their true love. I did. It was wondrous and magical. Everything you can imagine in the best romance novel ever. Then he was gone. My son was gone. I wanted to go with them. I sat for over six months and felt good and sorry for myself because I was certain no one else had ever known such pain as mine; the rest of the time I blamed myself. I was wrong of course on both counts, but I was young. In an attempt to die, but in a heroic genre, I finally got up out of my chair and back into the world via some rather dangerous adventures. I found out I still wanted to live. Years later I was rewarded for getting up from that chair with the gift of my daughter. You just never know what is around that bend do you?

So where I have never known what it is to be a daughter, I have the joy of being someone’s mother. I have also been made aware (good to have friends eh?) that not every mother and daughter have the sort of relationship we do. I am grateful for that relationship every day. To have had her as a child, to watch her grow into a compassionate, curious, involved, brilliant young woman is a journey I would have paid any price to be on. She is a steadfast and loyal friend, a faithful partner, and bloody hilarious. We argue, but never for long. We get on each other’s nerves, but it can be solved with an afternoon away. We disagree, but always agree the other might be right. We love each other. She knows I always have her back, and I know she has mine. She cooks for me, and I buy things for her she thinks are extravagant. I clean for her, she reminds me to not take the world so seriously. She thinks I am “cool”, I think she is perfect. We laugh, a lot.

When she left for university I began a letter of gratitude to her. I updated it and resent it every year since. Here follows part of that continuing missive:


I am grateful that:

You have an amazing work ethic

you love animals

You are the most forgiving person I know - without being a doormat.

You like museums

You like science fiction

You are physically affectionate

You laugh easily and often

You liked London, but you love Venice

You know that listening to a friend who needs you is more important than cleaning your room

you never give up.

you can say, “I am sorry” when it is needed

you don’t watch television

You love music and art.

You know evil exist

You know goodness exist

You know that you do not always have to agree with someone to love them.

You understand quality is superior to quantity - in all things, shoes to friends.

You decided to allow me to be your mother this time around

You have borne the difficulties in your life with great dignity

You like Eddie Izzard and Monty Python

You have forgiven me my many mistakes in parenting

You decided to learn to play the clarinet when you were nine.

You decided to learn to play the violin when you were seventeen.

You make such good choices for your friends and romantic liaisons

You are curious.

you think learning is an adventure.

you want to contribute to the well being of the Universe.

You are tall.

you like flowers.

you do not have my kinky, frizzy hair.

you love to read.

You find my foibles amusing rather than distressing

you can appreciate Beauty without being seduced by it.

You can tell a good wine from a mediocre one

you love me even when I am wrong.

you love me even when you are wrong.

you are funny.

you know and appreciate the taste of excellent whiskey

you know even though things can always get worse, things can always get better.


KarenO said...

I found your blog via Pamela Jeanne's, and what a wonderful suprise! I came here right after posting my blog of today, and it was meant to be. One of my wishes are that mothers should be thankful for their children on Mothersday, and not the other way around, and here you are being just that, and so touching too! Thanks for such a beautiful post, and for showing me that my wish isn't an impossible dream :)

Andres Carl Sena said...

happy mother's day!

The Good Woman said...

Happy mothers Day to you too Lady M. I continue to learn...

lady macleod said...


thank you for coming by and the kind words. I am ticked pink I could grant someone's wish, fancy me a fairy with wings and a wand!

lady macleod said...

Andres carl sena,

Thank you!

lady macleod said...

good woman,

here's hoping we all continue to learn, eh?

Sparx said...

Happy Mother's day - what a great post. And, what a great idea for a letter! Thanks for a great blog!

lady macleod said...

Aw pashaw (chin tucked in, scuffing feet, and a bit of a blush).

Thank you sweetie.

Pig in the Kitchen said...

It was hard reading about your son, I think you were immensely brave to carry on. And I agree about ungrateful people being bitter.
A lovely post Lady M, and Happy Mother's Day, there are 5 minutes left of it here in France!

lady macleod said...

Thank you for reading Piggy! Always great to have you.

I Beatrice said...

I wrote letters of love and gratitude to each of my parents shortly before they died. I never received replies, but hoped I had let them know how much I loved and admired them after all. We never find out how difficult it is to be parents until it's almost too late.

I have also written to my daughter and my two sons at times, and they have responded - with deeds rather than words. I feel myself profoundly blessed in having them.

Your daughter has a lovely mother! And now I see what you meant yesterday when you wished me Happy Mothers Day. It was Mothers day in the Antipodes too, I gather...

The Good Woman said...

Hi Lady M

Not really appropo your post, but just to say thanks for the heads up on Expat Women. You are generous Mom and a generous blogger too!

lady macleod said...

I Beatrice,

Wonderful that you were so clever to let those you love know it. for me that's right up there with - use the good china today, use the sterling silver every day, the crystal can be used for Pellegrino as well as Crystal.

lady macleod said...


you are most welcome.

pluto said...

Now that's an immense amount of life experience packed into one posting.

Very sorry to read about your griefs. And very glad that you've emerged as strong and as happy as you are now (hope that isn't too presumptuous).

That's a wonderful letter to your daughter. (Do you delete things each year as well as adding others? Only joking.)

> not the least of which is the knowledge that I should be grateful

Far from the least!

lady macleod said...


not presumptuous) at all.

he he, actually I should delete some of the things she has outgrown (I am grateful that you do not wear ridiculous shoes with your backpack - I left that out for this post and some other too dated)

Thank you for coming by Pluto.

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

Your daughter is very fortunate to have you as a mother as you sound like you are to have her as a daughter. I am sorry to hear about the losses you've endured in life, but so glad you survived to be in the place you are today. Happy Mother's Day, Lady M!

lady macleod said...


Thank you for coming by, and the kind words.

dianeinjapan said...

What an amazing amount of living you have done, and how wonderful that you have been able to move through some terrible experiences and go on to make a beautiful life for yourself and your daughter! Lovely, moving post.

lady macleod said...


Thank you for the kind words, and thanks for coming by.