The Secret Life of Melanie O.
Sunday, May 14, 2006
Mother's Day
My Mother

Today is Mother's Day. I'm not sure what this day is supposed to mean. I think it's a sad statement that we need a day to remind us to call our mothers and tell them how much we appreciate them. When I was a child, I used to love parent day at school, as I thought my mother was the smartest, prettiest mother in the room. Nowadays, I wish we could just be in the same room together for more than a few days every few years.

Two of my sons remembered that it's Sunday in Australia, and so I got a phone call and a couple of emails. It's nice that they remembered, but I enjoy their regular correspondence much more. There's no cultural norm that encourages them to contact me on "off days." Sure, by tradition, we make sure that we're in contact for each others' birthdays and Christmas, but how much more does it mean when you get those letters and emails that complain about having a belt stolen by a roommate, or have a philosophical chat about the Afterlife? We tend to have those kinds of conversations in our family: we discuss everything from the problems with the health care system, to premarital sex, to career choices and religion. And we manage not to engage in shouting matches, even if we don't necessarily agree with each other.

Somehow, we've managed to go with the times, even if we don't always agree with the changes. We've learned, through painful experience, not to be so rigid in our thinking. Our family has grown and changed over the years. We're all scattered, but somehow, through communication, we've managed to stay tightly-knit. With all of the problems in the world, at least, your family is your own problem. It's familiar. You learn to deal with any issues. And you wouldn't trade them for anything.

My mother is the mother of girls, while I had all boys. I think we each had to learn to cope with different things as our children grew. And I think we each sighed a sigh of relief when we realised that our children got to adulthood and we all survived. Nothing has made me appreciate my mother more than growing older. As my mother and I grow older, I realise that every day is a gift. They say that nothing makes you appreciate your mother more than having your own kids. I disagree. I know grown adults with kids who haven't spoken to their own parents in years. Not because they were abused - but because they have different political, cultural, or religious views. They harbor resentment that grew when they were teens, and the adult kids never matured past it. I see that as one of the greatest tragedies of the common era: that you can cut a parent out of your life because of a difference of expectations. And I do know people that have done that. And I know parents that have cut a child out of their life for the same reason.

Not all mothers will get the Mother of the Year award or be featured in a woman's magazine, but I can not think of a single mother that I know who shouldn't get some kind of award for overcoming the hardships she's faced raising children. Our culture likes to enshrine motherhood and frowns on sexy or working mothers. Thankfully, our children know that moms are people, too. So, they stay in touch with you and share on an equal and intelligent level, and on Mother's Day, you get the obligatory phone call. In the scheme of things, I'd rather get twenty ordinary, chatty letters throughout the year and have them forget me on Mother's Day. After all, my sons don't need a special day for me to express my love to them.

My own mother is visiting my sister this Mother's Day. The little girl in me is sad that she's not visiting me - as impractical as it would be. I guess we never outgrow our need for our mothers. And mine will always be the prettiest, smartest mom in the room.

posted by Melanie O. at 6:51 PM -
  • At 4:57 PM, Blogger Kanani said…

    And Happy Mother's Day to You!

  • At 8:23 AM, Blogger LivinginOz said…

    Thanks, Kanani - to you, too. :-)

  • At 6:17 AM, Blogger gardenbug said…

    Your blog comment is the best Mother's Day present I ever had. How lovely and well written. thanks, also for the rose card. I got it when I returned from Beth's house. It is sitting on the dresser where you can see it when you fly up. I am home a few hours ago and am catching up on mail and laundry. Andy kept the house while I was away. He did a good job. The kitchen is cleaner than when I am in charge.
    Joseph's Limo called and left a message. I have to call them back to give them your flying itinerary.Sorry We were not together on mother's day, I hope to squeeze in a lot of fun in September. Love you.

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About Me
Name: Melanie O.
Home: Durham, North Carolina, United States
About Me: Female, American health and beauty-conscious professional who has rekindled a childhood love of dolls.
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