This weekend, we have parades; processionals; picnics; parties. Families get together for good food and frisbee. People drive to the lake; open their cabins; put their boats in the water for the summer.
Memorial Day Weekend is the weekend all your flowers are planted. Your yard is neatly trimmed. Your grill is brushed off and cleaned. Potato salad is ready. Brats are soaked. (Sorry, if you’re not a Sconny-from Wisconsin, bratwurst is a German sausage best when soaked in beer before cooking.) Coolers are filled with ice. Men are fishing. Woman are shopping all the rummage sales.
This is our traditional Memorial Day Weekend. It is the summer season opener.
In memory of soldiers and service people we have a three day weekend each May.
There is no mail delivery. No banks are open. Memorial Day is a day off from the regular routine of our lives. It is a day to stop – to think – to remember – to be thankful – to honor those people who have decided to give more to us than we generally tend to give our neighbors – coworkers – fellow shoppers – road sharers.
We go to the grocery store and cut people off in the aisles with our carts. They will sleep buried in sand for months for the safekeeping of people they may never meet.
We switch lanes in a roundabout without signaling and flip the bird at the person who honks at us for doing so. They will share their wedding anniversaries across the world from their spouses through Skype.
We will complain when we have to wait twenty minutes for a table at Red Robin. They will eat reconstituted who-knows-what every day of the week while carrying tons of field equipment.
The traffic on the highways this weekend will be crazy. The price of gasoline we buy this weekend will cost more. The cool whip will probably not be available in the corner store when you realize you forgot it Monday. The service at the cemetery may run long for the children who are ready to play. But…
What’s the least we can do for the people who do MORE for us than many of us could imagine?
Last year I went nuts with all kinds of letters to the mothers of my life. Seriously, it was well more than you needed.
This year, I have a story from one mother to you. See what you think of it.
Swinging high into the bright cloudless blue sky, a young girl smiles as her golden curls bounce around her face. She pumps her legs harder. She swings so high she jerks and give herself a tickle-belly. Her boyfriend is swinging next to her. He can’t reach as far into the sky as she can today. They laugh and giggle. This summer day could go on forever and neither of them would complain. As their swings slow to stop, they ask each other questions. It’s not unusual for this pair to discuss cars, houses, careers, the wedding, and children.
Today, he says he would like six children. He shares his idea of what life would be like. He’s be a doctor. She’s be a stay-at-home mom. Their children would play all day in their park-like backyard and run to hug him when they hear his car pull into the driveway. She says she would like just three children according this day’s scenario. Her neighbor has six children and that all fight and have sassy mouths. If she has just three, it will be wonderful. There would be an oldest brother – Dad’s helper and number one guy; a middle girl – a second born girl always gets more affection from her parents than a son; and, a baby boy – the oldest will help undo all the “babying” their parents did and they will be fast and fabulous friends.
Canoeing through the swamp around the south side of the island, a young teenage girl examines all the little life forms in the seaweed that keeps getting hung up on her paddle. She can’t believe there are so many different creatures living in the shallow mucky water. It fascinates her. She stops paddling and leans back against the stern of her canoe. Looking up into the sky, she soaks up all the warmth from yet another sunny summer afternoon. There is nothing else in the world at that moment. All her wishes are fulfilled. She is completely happy and cannot imagine life anywhere else, or life with anyone else. Sunny solitude – she craves it. She devours it.
It’s another day at the office for the new wife. She started her new job just three months after they were married. With all the stress of the wedding, losing her previous job, and moving into a smaller apartment; she hasn’t felt her best for several weeks. She didn’t even think she could be pregnant because she never was terribly healthy in the female regions. A routine checkup proves miraculous. She is going to have her first child. She was stunned and amazed. On the way home from the clinic, she lit her last cigarette; said a prayer; and honestly felt like no her life would begin.
After several years, she has another child. She doesn’t feel confident she has done the best job she could as a mother. She has changed diapers; carpooled to preschool; shared meals with other young mom groups; she even worked extra days in the nursery at church. The kids are fed and cared for – teeth brushed, showers taken, hair combed, vitamins taken, books read, prayers said. She does everything her mother and grandmother did while she was growing up. But she wonders…
Will my kids remember me for grocery shopping and cooking?
Will my kids think I couldn’t do anything else so I just became a mom?
Will my kids realize I lived a life as a good example for a reason?
Will my kids understand how much I love their father, but things aren’t always perfect?
Will my kids know that love often hurts, but it’s still love and that endures forever?
Will my kids believe that I was once their age or will they only know me for my mother role?
I realized recently how little about me my children know. I know they don’t need to know everything. They shouldn’t know everything about their parents. But they only see me yelling at them during the morning rush. They only see my at home; as a mom. Do they know I have friends? Do they know I actually don’t like pizza every week? They have never met friends I call my dearest. They give me a look when I know the words to one of their songs. They give me a different look when I wear something that isn’t “practical”. They don’t think my natural personality is anything other than “MOM”. It makes me sad to think about sometimes. I know parents are not to be best friends with their children. It’s hard to resist slipping in to the fun nonchalant person you once were. After all, your kids are the best kids on earth. They are smart and witty and fun to hang out with.
I hope my kids know me before this time is done. I hope my kids appreciate all they will realize I did for them with my ninja mom skills. I hope their children do the same for them one day.
Happy Mother’s Day! Thanks for reading my stream of conscious thoughts.