observe Mother’s Day
not one day but everyday
love given, returned
senryu by M. Nakazato LaFreniere
I was working on a t-shirt for mother’s day. I know some people had a toxic mother or father and they either don’t want to talk about them at all or talk about them ad infinitum. Some like to rave about their parents being wonderful and perfect. Most of us are in the middle raised by folks who loved us, did their best, made some mistakes but mostly did alright.
calM (mostly) lOving (always) smarT (of course) Handy (no choice) enErgetic (on good days) gReat (yay! my kids say so)
|t-shirt that I was working on|
When someone gives and gives without asking, it’s easy for the recipient to not be grateful, not be aware of the sacrifices because the person isn’t asking you to count costs. Getting up on five hours sleep to make breakfast for everyone before people fly off to school and leaving for work themselves, coming home tired but pulling it together to feed and clean and spend some time together. Putting dreams aside until children finish school or retirement or not going on a cruise because someone needs braces. It’s little things and big things and all the time and the cost isn’t counted because it’s love.
In Japan, someone told me about a ritual. Don’t really remember now if it was Buddhism, Zen or Shinto or something else. Don’t even remember who told me. They said each morning, Bow to the North in gratitude to your parents (thinking of something they did you are grateful for). Then bow (forget the next direction, West?) in gratitude to your teachers–school teachers when you’re younger but later role models and other people who teach you things. Then bow in gratitude to your friends. Then finally bow in gratitude to the world. (I interpreted that as nature and everything else)
I think this practice of being grateful, of remembering what people have done for you is a good one. We are so often aware of what we do but take for granted what others do so their efforts become invisible and we discount it without being aware of it. This can leave a person disgruntled, feeling like no one cares. Cultivating gratitude is about making the invisible visible, of becoming aware of what others do for you.
The important thing is to learn to do that everyday, not just on annual holidays. And also to be active in one’s own caring — not taking our caring for granted but acting on it — calling mum/dad today to say hello, visiting, hanging out in the garden, going to Bingo, whatever. (Yeah, Bingo is boring but the point is to do what they like to do together, not necessarily what you like — because when you were a kid, they did what you liked, not what they liked).
Don’t just tell them about your life. Ask questions about their past. Find out what they were like in grade school, in high school, in their life long before you were born. Years and decades pass quickly and it’s easy to let days slip by, saying I’ll call tomorrow, on Mother’s Day, on Christmas as if love is contained by holidays.
Because time/life is finite and then it’s done and there is no time left to say thank you. To say I remember you did this and this and I’ve always appreciated it.
I miss my mom but I will always be grateful I moved back home when she was elderly. It was hard in the beginning because we argued (she was treating me like I was 15 again! geez!) but we got used to each other all over gain. And I started asking her questions about herself. I got to know her as a person. I didn’t realize until then how much I took her for granted almost as if she was a mom avatar instead of a real person. I miss the money from the job I quit and the pension I would have had but I would do it all over again in a New York minute. At the time I felt like it was a huge sacrifice but later realized it wasn’t. It would have been a worse sacrifice not getting to know her better.
Funny what you end up being grateful for. I got lucky. Hope you do too.
daily prompts, daily post
©2018 M.LaFreniere, all rights reserved
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