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: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/13/magazine/13Israel-t.html?pagewanted=1&ref=magazine
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.