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Mother's Day changes from childhood to post-mom years

May 9, 2014 - Paul Giannamore
As we age, Mother’s Day comes to mean something different.

When I was a kid, it was the day to honor Mommy, and give her a hug and the card or the pin you made in school, and spend the day with her, and make her feel special.

As I grew to those teen years, it became a day you did because you had to. She is your mother, after all.

And as an adult, it became the day where I faced annually that tension, real or imagined, between honoring my mother and my mother-in-law, both of whom I think would have taken my life if it wouldn’t have left The Boss (At Home) as a widow. Mix in the need to be sure my two kids were honoring The Boss (At Home) properly, and it was a busy and mentally taxing day.

And now, both my mom and my mother-in-law have been gone for a long time, 14 years for my mother-in-law and nine for my mom. And Mother’s Day has been about my wife, The Boss (At Home) exclusively since then.

She is the mother of our kids, which means she deserves any honor I can muster up, however inadequate it truly would be, because she is truly a great mother, patient and kind and with an endless and boundless supply of love for those two kids while putting up with me for more than half our lives.

Which brings me back to my mom, who had to put up with me in proximity for far longer than most mothers have to nowadays. I used to wonder if she really wished I had gotten far, far from the nest like my siblings did.

With the nomadic economic needs of the average American setting in about the time my sister and brother graduated post-secondary education, it became the norm for most of the adult children in a family to move to, say, Wichita. Or Denver. Well, in my family that’s how it went. And, there might be that one kid left who managed to find a niche in his hometown, say, at the newspaper, and there he would stay. And stay. And stay. To the chagrin of the editors, let alone mom, who would never have the peace of mind that might come byt having this lunkhead who stayed behind nearby move away.

Except as I write this I am hearing my mom’s voice. She worried every last blessed day about Wichita. And Denver (more properly, Aurora, Colo.) Every day. I listened to the lament. “The news said they had a bad storm in Colorado.” “I haven’t heard from your brother in (insert time period ranging from two weeks to two months).” “Did you read what the mayor said last night?”

That one was mine back when I was city hall reporter. I always had to respond, “No, Mom. I wrote about what the mayor said last night. You read what I wrote in the Herald-Star.” Which would be followed by that J.R. Ewing-just-pulled-one-on-Cliff Barnes smile she’d get when she knew she had me. Again.

I get it now, Mom. It wouldn’t have been peace of mind if your third, the goofy one, moved away, would it? Because I cannot envision a world where my two never call for two months or sit through a bad storm without letting us know or, Heaven forbid, write stories about what the mayor said last night.

And I’m "just" the father here.

The Boss (at Home) actually is a lot more like my dad than my mom in that she keeps her true feelings to herself. A lot. But I surely hope those two offspring of ours know that their mother quietly considers her life as better led because they’re in it, and they’d better always respect that because one day, hopefully in the far-flung future, it will be too late.

Mother’s Day surely is better where you are, Mom, but my gift is to tell you Mother’s Day hasn’t developed from childhood mommy day to old guy sense of loss day. Know that I now get all those life lessons you were teaching without ever telling me they were life lessons.

Miss you a lot, Mom.


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