Saturday, 8 May 2010
Happy Mother's Day!
Happy Mother’s Day to all of us fortunate enough to have that role.
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 the joy of being someone’s mother. I know that not every mother and daughter have the sort of loving relationship we do. I am grateful for that relationship every day, and we both work to make it so. 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. She is a respectful, loving, and kind daughter. 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.
Years ago as she was preparing to leave home for university I began a letter of gratitude to her. While she was in school I updated it and re-sent it every year. Now I update it and send it on Mother’s Day. 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 have chosen a good man for your husband.
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.
You continue to persevere on your journey to your doctorate with persistence and great joy.
You have become an athlete! In addition to my being happy about the positive contribution this will have for you physically and mentally, both now and in your future; it relieves me from those last lingering threads of guilt I had about spending time away from you to train and climb mountains when you were a teenager. Perhaps in some way I set an example…
You have the slim and gorgeous ankles and neck of an Audrey Hepburn - that I always wanted.
You have excellent posture.
You wear quality undergarments.
You are taking the time to plan adventures for your life (adventure takes planning!) and execute them.
You have done such a fine job of making a place for yourself socially as an independent woman, and as part of a couple.
You make me feel appreciated.
In this past year you have begun to speak to me as both your mother and your friend. We have passed another landmark in the evolving mother-daughter relationship.
For the past twenty-six-plus years you have given me joy and laughter. I gave you life, but in many ways – you saved mine.
Thank you. I love you with all my heart. You are the best part of me.