Monday, May 19, 1997

To All You Mothers Out There From a Boy Who Loves to Dangle His Participles

Last week we celebrated, honored, recognized and hopefully appreciated a tradition that at least goes all the way back to the day Hallmark incorporated. The newsletter in its five year existence hasn't taken many definitive stands on solitary issues but after a week of review we have decided this issue is important enough to risk a bit of controversy. We are coming out of the closet, as it were, and are stating here that we are in favor of motherhood. Now I've been called many names during my life but as far as I know "mother" ain't one of them. Well maybe it was, but if I was, it probably wasn't the compliment it should be. I continue to marvel at how to be a mother requires immense talent as the good ones show day in and day out year after year.

On the occasions I get to talk with my favorite mother of two she is invariably in between running tasks for her kids getting them to their softball games, participating in a school activity with them, making sure their quickly prepared but carefully planned dinner is ready before they are off to their next event and making sure that dinner meets their choosy expectations. She does all this so well that all she does sometimes gets taken for granted but for those of us on the outside looking in, what she accomplishes on a daily basis is truly admirable.

As is a prerequisite for the job she is a worrier by nature. When one of the kids is struggling with a school assignment she does her best to be encouraging while passing on what she knows. When one of the kids is going through the roller coaster ups and downs of teenage social life, she is there to remind her daughter of all that is special and unique about her all the while conveying the supportive message that the kid isn't alone.

My thirteen year old niece, one of my sister's five children, recently got into some trouble with her friends on a field. trip. I conveyed my opinion to my sister that the parents of the children were equally to blame for their children's misbehavior as their kids were. My sister asked me how I could say such a thing having stated a previous belief that the problem with kids today is their lack of responsibility in such standard things as getting their homework done. My answer showed my novice mothering skills. I said that in the case of homework the duty was on the child since it was being done for their future. Without putting the work into learning, the options of what can be accomplished later on in life are severely limited. What they want to be is thus their own choice. But in the case of a more immediate social situation like a class field trip it was the parent's duty to teach the child the values of behaving well in a group situation. Raise a cat and you think you know it all...

But I have learned a thing or two about mothering from my own mum. My parents have made the effort over the past few years to make it to as many of my softball games as they can. It is a truly appreciated effort not only from their son but also from their son's teammates who don't tend to draw much of a cheering section. This season teammates from both of my teams have told me what great people my parents are. No argument here. It's probably not a hip rock and roll type thing to admit but my parents are pretty damn cool. Phat, positively the phattest parents that be.

My mommy passed on to me her love of baseball and music, two of the continually rewarding elements of my life. When I was in school she always amazed me that whenever I asked her for help she knew how to figure out the answers. I wasn't even disappointed years later to discover that the way she did that was to read ahead in my textbooks to refresh herself in lessons to be taught. That she would even make that effort seems to me to be rather dear and special.

Looking at my mum, you may or may not agree that she is one happening lady. But that she laughs at even the lamest of my jokes tells you that she is proud to have raised the dorkiest of dorks around. And I guess that is what being a mom is all about.

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