It’s a day of emotion and connection, Mother’s Day. It’s our day of reflection into our origin story, our entry into and out of the primordial ooze. And then there is the layer of the commercial upon the emotion replete with flowers and cards and duty.
My mother is at a play in Connecticut at the Long Wharf theatre today with my father who is celebrating his 82nd birthday. My parents are indeed Thespians, I was even named after a play written by George Bernard Shaw. The play of my life began with my mother being ushered into Columbia Presbyterian Hospital on the isle of Manhattan one snowy Friday evening in December with nary a taxi available for the ride to the hospital. My mother left her purse in the taxi, my father had to threaten the taxi dispatcher to retrieve her wallet, and my mother grew nauseous from the spaghetti and meatball meal she had ingested to close to my arrival.
Yet with the the swirling energy and the near full moon, I arrived in less than four hours, in an uncomplicated delivery, robust, alert, and cheery to all accounts.
Now in my third act, I live far from the northeast. I sit under tall Ponderosa Pines on a sunny day and reflect on the first two acts of my life; a cacophony of people, episodes, adventures, and lessons.
One such adventure I was reminded of in the parking lot of a grocery store this morning as I set to drive off with pineapple and yogurt. A man approached my car with a smile. I suspected I had left my keys outside or some-other mishap, but he wondered at my front license plate, a souvenir plate of Kentucky. He asked me if I was from Kentucky…………and I traveled to the second act of my life. Kentucky, where I had almost drowned, become an equestrian, met the love of my life, all phases now in the rear view mirror of my life. He had lived in Pineville, an eastern Kentucky hamlet that I had traveled to with my husband. I relished the warmth and gentility this man offered. He spoke of the cool mountain air and trees. I missed all that he offered, and absorbed the remembrance on this, a day of remembrance.
I stopped at the gas station. Cars from all over were collecting gas for trips to meet mother’s. An SUV with a confederate flag stood perpendicular to mine. My muscles tightened and I reflected upon a confrontational conversation I had once had with another such vehicle’s owner. I was incensed that anyone would affix that flag on their vehicle. The farm worker defended their position. I countered by questioning why anyone would celebrate the confederacy OR a lost battle. Awakened from that memory, a Mennonite woman stopped to ask me where country club road was. I heard her southern accent and asked where she was from having given her directions. Jacksonville, she responded with “bless you dear.” I remembered a friend who had begged me to move to Jacksonville in my late 20’s. I paused and reflected that If I had taken that path, Kentucky would never have materialized.
I returned home to water plants, and tidy up the house and I came across an envelope stuck in a Kentucky photo album now 25 years old. In the envelope was a collection of letters from high school and college boyfriends, letters from my mother and father, a newspaper article heralding my college boyfriends’s running-back acumen and diary entrees from a high school. I saw the words from the voice of the person I was, still evolving still stretching into adulthood.
Mother’s Day for me this year has been a memorial day come early. No armaments needed no soldiers in uniform required, just a reverie of reflection.
I am grateful that this Mother’s day I was able to wish my mother a happy day, to thank her and express my love for her. This I feel for my remarkable father as well to whom I send out birthday wishes and gratitude for the love and life he gave me. I don’t know how more years of that I will be afforded going forward. Mom and Dad thank you for my life and my adventures, may they continue to come forward.