Monday, May 15, 2017

                                               Unexpected Joys of Mother’s Day

     This week-end, I was blessed with the most beautiful gift a mother could ask for: the presence of my daughter. Chris flew from several states away to be with me on this special day.  I looked forward to her visit weeks previous. I was so excited about spending quality time with a young woman who, although working part time as a Social Worker helping others cope with their own lives, she juggles raising three teen-age boys’ schedules often while her husband is away working. For her to take the time and energy to be with me for a long week-end was the best gift I could ever have imagined. 

     I expected her to come, but I didn’t expect some of the additional gifts. First, we had time to just be together. We rarely have the luxury of standing in front of a mirror curling our hair or walking the beach talking about the clouds or sitting at dinner talking about our few mother/daughter trips of the past. We had time to just look at each other and admire the things we treasure most but find hard to articulate. We rarely have the opportunity to watch how others react to us or how we respond in any given situation. Chris always reacts rationally, calmly and gracefully no matter whether it’s finding a parking space or listening to my road rage.

    Secondly, I was surprised when she asked me some unexpected questions like “What do you regret most in your life?” Now that’s loaded, and for a mother to answer that to her daughter in the middle of the warm apple strudel at our gourmet dinner spot was no easy task. I began with “I wish I had taken Journalism in school.” Well, that didn’t cut it, and the conversation got much deeper from there. 

     Thirdly, she asked me to play the piano for her. She knows how much that means to me, and she sat listening with pride as I played (imperfectly) some of the selections from my recent one-woman show. I was surprised that I wasn’t nervous, as I’m always anxious that my performance won’t be perfect, even when no one’s listening except a sound tech. She didn’t have to say how proud she was; I saw it in her eyes.

     Fourthly, she showed me her silly. Chris’ silly is subtle and always unexpected. When we entered the hands-on Circus museum, I never expected her to attempt the tight rope simulation (which she nailed), stick her arm in the life-sized fake tiger’s mouth, fold herself into the tiny clown car or come up with a unique way to go bareback on the metal horse. She has a quiet humor which is so touching and precious. (She must have gotten the quiet part from her Dad:)

    Finally, she showed me her humility (which wasn’t really a surprise) when several people commented on how elegant and attractive we were. Random people approached us on the street and said kind things. She would always smile with poise and later say to me, “The guy was probably drunk” or she would claim they were only talking about me. Untrue. 

     She gave me the final gift of seeing her strengths, her inner beauty and her continuing natural-beauty glow. As we live many states apart and only have the luxury of seeing each other two or three times a year, and then always surrounded with family members, I was blessed to just have time to hang out and relax with my first born. How lucky am I? 

     I never had this gift with my own mom;  we never really connected at this level—-a sad regret. As I prepare to take her back to the airport this afternoon, my heart grows heavy, and the tears get stuck in my throat. What a wonderful week-end of laughter, sharing and love. Lucky me. Thank you, God, for the gift of daughters. Thank you, Chris, for the gift of you.