We all have mothers, and as we proceed through our lives, we sometimes question their actions. Obviously, we stand in a different place in time, look at things from our perspective, our generation.
I have vivid memories of phone calls my mother and I had every night around 5:00 pm. No matter how long I’d been married, or she was still working or had retired, we shared our five o’clock phone call…every single week day and often on weekends.
My mother was always supportive of me, my choices, but I still smile remembering those calls, my daughters both in grade school. Mom would begin with the simple aspects of her day, but then would often launch into what was going on in THE WORLD, and often it was about hungry children in Africa or a war that had forced families from their homes. These realities weighed on her, her giving heart. But while we were chatting, daughter Number One would pull at my arm needing help, sometimes with a math question—and daughter Number Two right behind her with a question or just needing my attention.
I would smile, trying to stay with my mother’s conversation, while also pointing at something that might help with the math question, or whispering some direction that would indicate I was always there for love, guidance. Often, I would walk into the living room for privacy, offer my mother an answer I hoped would help her, give her the attention and love she also deserved. I don’t remember being further hassled by call-waiting. I do remember I was usually trying to prepare dinner, so there was often food on the stove or in the oven. It was a bit of mini-chaos.
But my mother was RIGHT, her heart and mind open to critiquing the laws, actions of governments that bind us together, that make the environment we experience safe for raising children, for our very lives. I was fortunate in her heart, her soul, she needing to tell me about those who were suffering, to share her feelings about the mistakes of governments, the laws gone so wrong. My mother was truly amazing. And now that my children are grown, now that I am living those “beyond children” decades, I better understand my mother’s giving, her intense passion.
Thus, when writing, those phone calls have worked their way into my fiction. Because my mother was right: as parent I needed to allow my brain to expand into the wider world, understand events that might actually affect the world that my daughters would live in.
This from a work-in-progress.
Ella would always defend her practice of medicine, because she was a part of it—medicine was what she was. It was not unlike when she had defended certain aspects of current culture to her mother. Cecile ripped apart the changing mores of society, but Ella defended change, because the result was Ella’s society, her culture. She lived in it, dealt with it and so had defended it. She couldn’t condemn what was part of her, what she had embraced and brought Sarah into. If she had condemned all of it, then she would be condemning herself.
But now? The awful things that happened to other people had happened to her, had touched Ella and David in the tenderest of places. Their daughter was missing, and maybe because of a society of people who did not obey basic laws, mores; gone because Sarah’s mother and father were part of it, hadn’t fought it, and had, over time, insidiously succumbed to it.
No matter where you live, or your age or the ages of those you love, we all must care every day about what is happening in our country and to our democracy. We all must read and seek TRUTH, educate ourselves. We cannot turn away, saying:
“What goes on over there won’t hurt me.”
Or “I’ve got money in the bank, so I’m okay.”
Or “It’s not hurting me, so I don’t really care.” IT CAN HURT YOU.
My mother believed in connection. Maybe walking the streets of Chicago to the train, sitting in doctor’s offices as she aged, reading a daily newspaper or talking to me about my day and always LOVING HER FAMILY made her a stalwart believer in making things right. In helping others. I think of her often. I do my best with my actions, words and thoughts–like this post. And now, I thank you for reading.