Tag Archives: Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day to one and all

In honor of Mother’s Day, I asked readers to tell me something specific that their mothers did right. Responses came in droves, most offering some loving motherly nugget.

However, I also heard from people who didn’t win the mother lottery. For them, this day is not full of warm fuzzies. There aren’t many Mother’s Day cards along the lines of, “I guess you did the best you could. I’m still working to forgive you.”

In the spirit of honoring the spectrum of motherhood, I’ve included a little of everything below:

– When I applied to college, I applied to one school, the closest one to our home. When I went to orientation with my mother, a counselor advised my mom that I would not do well if I was spending two hours a day commuting. The counselor offered me a spot with on-campus housing. My mother jumped at this opportunity for me. She knew my father would be extremely angry, which he was. He eventually forgave her. After I graduated from college and then Stanford Medical School, my father acknowledged that my mother had made the best decision for me.

– My mom always lets me pick the music and we always listen to it turned all the way up and dance every time we ride anywhere (without Dad).

– My parents died within weeks of each other, much too soon. Mom had gastric cancer. She never complained, even though it was brutal. Shortly before she died, she was sitting with me waiting on CT scan results and crying quietly. I hugged her and asked if she was hurting. She shook her head and said, “No, I miss Quincy.” In that moment, I realized just how deeply she loved Dad — something I’ll always treasure.

– My parents divorced when I was 9. My sisters were 8 and 3. My mom had married very young and never gone to college. She went back to school with three kids and became a nurse. I remember getting up for a drink of water at night and mom was outside with a study group, under a security light so they didn’t wake us up. She taught me that education is that important and once you are a mom, your kids come first.

On the flip side of motherhood:

– The thing my mother did for me was to leave my siblings and me with grandparents when we were very young. I had to fend for myself and learn right from wrong all on my own. Her leaving me turned me into a strong, responsible, hard working, strong-willed, loving, and caring mother to my three children and husband.

– My mother is narcissistic. She who probably loves us — her children — but instead often shows us meanness and selfishness. I don’t mean to be a downer about it, but as everyone gushes on this day, some of us don’t.

I found solace in a sermon delivered by a minister who spoke of these kinds of mothers in relation to the commandment to honor your mother and father. He asked if that commandment held if they weren’t good, kind parents? He suggested that we’re not commanded to love them, agree with them, aspire to be like them — but simply to honor them as a parent, who for better or worse got us here. This thought was extremely helpful to me and brought me peace in that regard.

When I was 18 or 19 and in college at LSU, my mom came to pick me up. By the time we reached Butte la Rose, she was furious with me because I wasn’t a sorority girl like she had been. She pulled off the interstate and kicked me out of the car and left me alone in the swamp (before cell phones). She drove off. I was terrified. I walked to the other side of the interstate where there was a small building, but it was empty. (This was before there was the big rest area facility there.)

I just sat on the stoop and waited, not knowing what to do. Eventually, she came back for me and later acted as though everything was just dandy. We have never spoken of it, but I relive it every time I drive past Butte la Rose, which is fairly often.

I doubt this is the kind of story you want for Mothers Day, but I know I’m not the only one who didn’t have the wonderful kind of mother. I tried to be a better mother and have two loving daughters to spend my day with — as well as a loving mother-in-law who loves me in a way my mother couldn’t.

Happy Mothers’ Day to you. May you find joy and peace in the day.

Happy Mother’s Day, Bill Gates

At some point, long ago (and before I became a mother), I read an article about the new house Bill Gates and his wife were building in Washington state.

I have little memory of where or when I read the piece, but there was one detail that has always stuck with me.

The story explained that each room in the house had some sort of special sensor that could tell which family member was in the room. Each person in the family and visiting was able to select temperature and lighting preferences. Guests were given special sensors to wear too. As I remember, if more than one person was in the room, there was a pre-set and programmed hierarchy that decided how the thermostat and lighting would be set.

Bill Gates was on the top of the hierarchy.

Oh, to be Bill Gates.

That story got stuck somewhere in the back of my head.

I’ve been a mother now for almost 15 years. In the last few months, the story of Bill Gates and the temperature and lighting of his home has made its way back to the surface of my brain.

To be frank, Taylor Swift forced the issue.

As you may have noticed, there are a lot of gadgets in this world that are supposed to bring simplicity and beauty into our lives. We all know and bemoan the fact that sometimes our techno-creature comforts have the exact opposite effect.

The music playing in the car I’m driving would be an example of electronic widgets and doodads of convenience bringing multiple complications and controversy into my life.

Here what would happen before my Bill Gates epiphany: My daughters and I would get into the car. Within nano-seconds, daughter no. 1 would have four wires attached between various sources and Taylor Swift would be singing her heart out for one and all to hear.

Daughter no. 2 would object to whatever Taylor Swift song was playing and an argument would erupt. This exact scene has progressed for months.

One day when I just couldn’t take the bickering anymore, I quieted the natives safely buckled in my car. I unplugged all musical apparati and began to tell them the story of Bill Gates and the temperature in his home.

They looked at me with blank stares and no response.

“I am Bill Gates,” I said. “From this day forward when I am in the room, I will control the sound. I am Bill Gates and never forget it.”

With Bill Gates’ help, however, I have brought peace and tranquility into what had become a rather tricky situation.

It’s not quite a 66,000 square-foot lakeside palatial estate overlooking Seattle, suited to my exact and every specification, but it’s a step in the right direction.

I get to listen to the music I want to listen to when I want to little to it, and a little James Taylor never hurt anybody. Yes, being Bill Gates is a beautiful thing.

Not only do I get to listen to the music I want, my newfound tactic settles all arguments and disagreements.

“But, Mom, why can’t I XXXXXXX (fill in the blank)?”

And the answer is simple, “Because I am Bill Gates.”