Friday, May 9, 2008

Life Lessons: A Reflection For Mother's Day

I haven't blogged in a while. I tell myself I don't have time, which is mostly true, but sometimes I have trouble with inspiration. I still don't have time today, but am feeling a little inspired nevertheless.

In the past week, in different contexts, I've witnessed or heard about instances of people "checking out" of responsibilities. As if that's an option. The first two were at work, when I was contacted by people who didn't want to come to work because they were experiencing life stressors and felt that one shouldn't be expected to come to work when one is "stressed out." The third was when a classmate who is trying to finish her thesis in the last days before graduation is trying to keep her head from exploding because her roommate is too "stressed out" to manage any responsibility whatsoever including doing dishes, dealing with the landlord to get out of their lease in time to save $3000.00 or reserving a moving truck (in the western Massachusetts 5-college area where approximately seven million people graduate from college and have to move out of their dorms or apartments on precisely the same Saturday) so they can move out of their apartment when they do deal with said landlord. The roommate also almost set the apartment on fire because she put on the tea water to boil then took a shower. This is a graduate student who will soon be in charge of something expensive in the world.

Which brings me to Mother's Day. I lost my mom in 2001 and miss her very much, almost every day. Mostly I miss the completely unconditional adoration my mother showed me. She made me believe I could do anything, that I was brilliant and beautiful and the world was lucky to have me. She also taught me completely dysfunctional ways of being - in the if-you-never-talk-about-it-it-never-happened kind of way. I've made some unbelievably huge mistakes in my life and, while I take full responsibility for the complete dope I can be sometimes, I sometimes wonder why I didn't turn out worse, given my upbringing.

But "checking out" was never an option - my mother faced incredible struggles and if anyone were to describe her today, the first word they would use would probably be "strong." She was incredibly resilient and, though very flawed, raised four daughters and taught us that it was more important to be smart than almost anything else. She believed in love, but didn't want us to rely on that for our survival. She told me that she loved the man who would become my husband, and trusted him, because of the way he looked at me. But she also encouraged me to be self-sufficient and get an education in case that wonderful, trustworthy man thing didn't work out.

So I want her to know that I'm doing o.k. The husband thing has worked out - she was right to love and trust him. I am blessed to have him. I have a job that I love and feel like I make a contribution, while I am surrounded by young employees who don't come to work when it's too hard. It's my job to share with them some of what I was taught and convince them that they're stronger and more resilient than they think and that while they would probably rather take the weekend off and sulk about life's unfairness, they'll feel better about themselves if they gather themselves together and get through the day productively. She would be very pleased (a little understatement) that I got into grad school, but she would be telling me on the phone right about now that I sound really tired and when finals are over she'll take me out to lunch and buy me earrings. She would be cheerleading and bragging and giving my husband credit for propping me up. She would tell me she's so proud.

So, Mom, I'm doing just fine. I'm a little tired, and sometimes a little scared. You'd be proud. And I learned it from you.

No comments: