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Sunday, May 09, 2010

Mother's Day - Gorilla Style

There are so many "moms" I know that it is exceptionally difficult to adequately say thanks for all their work.  Being a mom is a full-time job in and of itself.  Single moms, married moms, step-moms, adopted moms...all is exceptionally difficult work in this day and age.  And then there's the whole grandmother thing too.  But that's for another time.

My mother was a tough cookie.  She had a "zero tolerance" for bovine fecal matter, but at the same time, she was patient and understanding.  I learned more than I could ever write about or even talk about for that matter, but not a day goes by that I don't remember her or something about her.  Her life and her death contributed greatly to who I am today be it for better or for worse.

There are a few things that my mother didn't tolerate and her thinking was definitely "old school" by today's standards.  Here is just a few I remember on this Mother's Day:

1.  Back-talk.  Back-talk would result in a mouth full of soap and if that wasn't enough, she would whip my little butt.  She believed that "honor your mother and father" was a commandment meaning respect and appropriate behavior therein. 

2.  Drugs.  She was not a big fan of drugs or anyone who used them or even pretended to use them or hung around people who used them.  Looking around today, the drug culture in one way or another permeates the fabric of our society and here in Oklahoma, the methamphetamine epidemic would have driven her through the roof.

3.  Kids are to be kids.  She never understood the concept in some families where the kids rule the roost.  It was certainly not the case in my household growing up.  This is not to say that we didn't have responsibilities, but rather we were allowed and encouraged to be kids.  Some of the kids today at the age of 11, 12 or even 13 are allowed to pierce their noses, their lips and put the equivalent of pencils in their ears.  Mom would not have tolerated that for even a nanosecond and she would have taken on any parent (or grandparent) who thought otherwise.  It's one of the things I suppose she taught me that carries forward today.  She didn't "judge," but she understood that we should "hate even the garment spotted by the flesh," and that kids should be kids...not "small versions of their adult counterparts."

4.  Dinner together.  Sitting down at the table, everyone in place, was very important to her and she would not tolerate excuses for not doing so.  "Excuses" fell under paragraph 1 above.

I miss my mother terribly, no doubt.  Having two girls in my home for the time being who also lost their mother at ages very similar to my brother and I provide unique insight for me.  I know the games, I know the manipulation, I understand their grief and what it does to them.  I know how they divert attention from the real emotions they are experiencing and project others.  I also know that the "blended family" so rapidly after marriage has been difficult for ALL the kids. 

What would my mother say?  She would tell me to love, to set boundaries and God help the ones who cross those boundaries.  She would tell me to love all these kids unconditionally and protect them from the garbage they have gone through and never allow them to do be forced to experience it again.  She would tell me to make sure these kids have time to BE kids and to limit negative influences from their past as often and as vigorously as possible.

And make sure they get plenty of home-style fried chicken and cornbread.

I hear you, mom.  Will do.