I went to mass the other day. It was in my hometown in the same church where I made my first communion, attended catechism classes and impatiently sat through midnight mass on Christmas Eve eager to only get home and open a single gift, as was our custom. I was there to accompany one of my oldest friends as he said a final public goodbye to his father.
The priest was “new,” having been there for just 20 years, he said. He was not the priest from my own childhood, Monsignor O’Flaherty who had no hesitation about addressing those dressed too casually or arriving too late for mass. Reverend Sweeney, along with my friend and his siblings, provided a lovely eulogy to a man who lived a long life filled with family and friends. I learned for the first time that my friend’s dad had never met his own dad and rejoiced in the thought of that introduction finally, 87 years later, taking place. The image made me smile.
Am I a true believer in heaven and life after death? Probably not. Do I believe that when we leave our earthly bodies behind our souls somehow come together and combine with those of whom we missed to create a new energy? I think I do.
I hope your Father’s Day, be it the third Sunday of June or some other day not yet on the calendar, is filled with love and a sense of connection.
…and I’m not talking about like a bouquet of flowers, either. No, I’m talking about good old-fashioned perspiration. You see, I began my Mother’s Day by participating in Fleet Feet’s 10K Classic. The race began (and ended) at Bethlehem Central HS* and the route was fairly rural and mostly flat. It was a small field of runners, but, as my friend Karen astutely noted, a small group didn’t mean that either of us had a prayer of finishing with any sort of distinction. The difference between a 5K and a 10K is way more than just 5K, believe me. The runners we were up against were pretty intense athletes, from my perspective. But, we weren’t there for medals or prizes. It was the promise of post-race mimosas that motivated us.
I really liked this race – we got lucky with the weather with a warm morning with limited sunshine and humidity. There was only one real hill, which we hit it in both directions, but it was well placed at about mile 1.5 and 5. The size of the race was really appealing, too. You’ll never see me at Freihofer’s or Corporate Challenge – they’re just too big for me. I’ll definitely run this again!
As for the rest of my Mother’s Day, let’s just say that teen-aged boys do not excel when it comes to showing appreciation and leave it at that. Next year, I just might follow my run with a ride instead of heading home to cook for the boys. It would probably be more satisfying.
*and, yes, it was weird driving to school on Sunday.
There are books that I read which are impossible to put down, a recent example being The Girl on the Train. I was so eager to find out what really happened that I refused to stop reading until I finished the book. I was neither disappointed, nor regretful of my decision to push on until I reached that final page and felt a welcome sense of resolution. It was a really good read.
The book I’m reading now though, is, if you’ll pardon the pun, a whole different story. Unforgettable: A Son, a Mother, and the Lessons of a Lifetime by NPR newsman, Scott Simon, is a work that I don’t want to finish. You see, if I finish it, the story will end and I so want the story (and Scott’s mother’s life) to continue. Simon’s book, a memoir of his mother, and their life together, originated as a series of Tweets during his mother’s time in the intensive care unit at the end of her life. The time Simon and his mother shared together in the hospital was a quilt of memories, thoughts, laughter and songs that provided comfort and solace to them both as they faced their final days together.
Below are some my favorite nuggets of wisdom. Simon’s Tweets appear, as in the book, in bold text. Quotes are the words of his mother, Patricia.
- I just realized: she once had to let me go into the big wide world. Now I have to let her go the same way.
- “You tell your children something a hundred times…You’re lucky if they remember one or two. Dos, don’ts, count for almost nothing. All they remember is what you do. Whether you want them to or not.”
- I love holding my mother’s hand. Haven’t held it like this since I was 9. Why did I stop? I thought it unmanly? What crap.
- “Show children the best people and places. Let them know they belong.”
- She will make the face of heaven shine so fine that all the world will be in love with night.
There’s so much wisdom in this book, so much love and laughter that I wish it went beyond the mere 244 print pages, that Patricia’s life went beyond only 84 years. As a mom to three sons, I can’t help but read this and hope that at the end of my life my “boys” will honor me with an iota of the respect and appreciation that Scott shows his mother. I don’t need one of them to write a book or anything, but I love the picture I’ve drawn in my head of my children sharing the memories and moments that have woven us together forever.
Mother’s Day is coming. Buy this book.
Don’t even approach my body unless you’ve first been between my ears. I’m 48, not 18.
True love isn’t roses and chocolate. It’s starting my car on a winter’s morning or bringing home pizza on a Friday night.
Love is buying me the Sunday paper on Saturday so I don’t have to go outside on a cold morning.
Love means being able to continue to believe.
- To run for my own pleasure without measure.
- To get out once or twice a month for the sole purpose of being social without the crutch of working.
- To eat quality food and drink copious amounts of water.
- To strive to get Jeter out and active as much as possible.
- To live an honest life.
- To both smile and cry more often.
- To keep practicing yoga.
- To read more “classics” to expand my cultural knowledge.
- To embrace the moment as frequently as possible.
- To remain cognizant of motion. Things may not always seem to move forward, but when they start moving backwards it probably is time to let go.
- To not settle for less than I want – or deserve.
- To love fiercely and tenderly.
- To learn more handy woman skills.
- To continue recording my journey.
- To understand and accept that what I want may not be possible, but what I have is pretty damn remarkable.
It’s a new year. Make it happy.
Not to take anything away from Mary, but I did my share of work yesterday, too. The morning began with tending to two loaves of bread, prepping the ultimately fantastic beef roast and driving a friend to the airport, all prior to attending a 10:00 yoga class.
After the sweaty release of 75 minutes of hot yoga and a grande latte, things really got busy. There was brioche dough to make for Christmas morning cinnamon rolls along with sugar cookie dough for a (I swear!) last round of baking. And laundry. And a joyous dog walk/run with Jeter which required a follow-up bath for him and a bathroom scrubbing for me. My final exertions, sweeping, vacuuming, and getting vegetables ready to accompany dinner complete, I made myself a bourbon sour and stepped into the clean shower to wash away the efforts of the day.
The house was filled with the aroma of beef stuffed with garlic, parsley and horseradish roasting and the boys had set the table with festive linens and holiday tableware. I sliced some of the beautiful bread I had baked earlier and prepared to sit down, confident that I had remembered every last detail. Until I smelled smoke. I first looked in the kitchen, but there was nothing out of the norm there. Next stop: the dining room where I found a very different story.
The bread basket had apparently been placed too close to a candle and the wicker basket, linen napkin and nearby placemat were all on fire. This was not a smoldering, it was a full-out flaming situation and I instinctively scooped up the entire mess and hastily made for the sink, yelling for some assistance from the boys. The flames were quickly doused and I headed back to the dining room to survey the damage, duly noting the freshly charred area which will perennially mark Quinn’s place at the table.
After the excitement passed, I confessed to Griffin that I wasn’t sure if I had reacted appropriately. Was picking up the flaming stuff and making for the kitchen the right thing to do? Should I have addressed the situation differently? He looked at me and asked “Did you put the fire out? Is anything else destroyed?” When I admitted that there had been no further damage, he assured me that I had done exactly what needed to be done at precisely the right time.
Which kind of brings me back to Mary and Joseph and that manger. Maybe if we keep our eyes open for guidance, be it from the brightest star in the sky or a wise young man (or 3) it really will all be fine. Merry Christmas.
- A universe and population that has evolved to understand that we’re more alike than different.
- Fewer guns in that wiser universe.
- In my own personal DelSo planet, the boys to clean their bedrooms.
- A romantic love that inspires.
- If number four doesn’t happen, Bradley Cooper would be an acceptable alternative.