This is the farthest I’ve ever been from my mom on Mother’s Day, I think: she in Vancouver, and I in kinda-London (soon to be Amsterdam). I usually don’t dwell on distance, and honestly once we’re no longer in the same house or city my communication frequency degrades as though I were stationed on Titan, but I struck me a bit today.
When I was much younger and shorter, and I believe had not yet developed the annoying habit of interrupting everyone I spoke with, Mom was considering taking a job in France, I think with Alcatel. At the time, I really didn’t know much about anything, but it seemed like a neat idea and only a little scarier than our previous moves, if indeed “scary” is not too strong a word. (I was inured to the traumas of relocation early and often, no doubt in part due to the “gypsy” blood Mom claims to host.) Now, though, I boggle at what an undertaking that would have been for Mom, with two young children, no support system at all in France, a language she didn’t really speak, a new job, visas, being an alien again — I get tired just thinking about it, because I’m a spoiled wimp.
But reflecting on that of course leads me to reflect on all the other miracles that Mom — or “Janice”, as I knew to yell for in stores, not quite realizing that a mother can pick out her child’s voice even when there are thirty other mothers in the area — performed to keep us going and healthy and happy. Performed so well, in fact, that I took it very much for granted growing up. Feed and shepherd two kids, be a consummate software professional (both technically and “socially”), help her quirky and demanding son learn and grow, pitch a mean softball, train a dog, drive stick, be a great and true friend, look out for her kids’ friends too, keep a house, act as the nexus for her family, make a desperately shoestring budget feel comfortable, and make a mean lasagne? Sure, how hard can it be? Mom can do it, and she can’t even beat me at chess any more.
I could relate a thousand anecdotes of her strength, courage, humour, wisdom, kindness, good judgement, selflessness, and other miscellaneous virtue, but after living a lifetime of them they pale when I try to capture them in words. I am who I am today, at least the good parts, because Mom is who she is, and because she never caved in and became someone else, even — especially — when that would have been so much easier. So thanks, Mom. I don’t know what else to say.
[Ed: boy, it sucks when I forget that I need two line breaks to create a new paragraph when I'm posting by mail.]