I apologized that her card didn't arrive on time - because I was tardy getting it to the post office - but my mom just blew it off, chuckling that she'd been late getting my Mother's Day card in the mail, too, then she ran off a litany of all the church work, social activities, shopping, housekeeping, and everything else that keep her "behind the 8-ball", one of my mother's stock expressions, meaning too busy to get everything done that needs to be done.
And so I was off the hook for giving my 95-year-old mother nothing more for Mother's Day than a phone call and a late card.
As I knew I would be. Because my mother's always been that way.
Whatever strict standards of respect and behavior she might have held us to when we were young, those standards did not require us doing special things for her on special occasions. That sort of thing never seemed important to her.
And this isn't because my mother is a hard or unfeeling person. Quite the contrary, she's always been the kindest soul with the softest heart. Of course, she could lay a guilt trip on her children with the best of them when it came to matters of our actions and morals. But never over undelivered tokens of our love and appreciation. Words were always plenty for her. "A kind and loving word is like water on a parched flower," she used to say.
She practiced ego-free mothering.
Inspired by own mother, I've come to the conclusion that every woman who has children ends up being two kinds of mother: the kind of mother she is when her children are young and the
kind of mother she is when her children are adults with families, concerns, and obligations of their own.
The kind of mother she was when I was young aside, when I reached adulthood my mother was the kind of mother who, when I got married, though she would have chosen otherwise, graciously gave into my wishes
My mother never played the Mother Card to claim wedding days, holidays, or any day, really, for herself. She was the mother who gave in. The mother who let it go.
She's the mother I advise my friends to be when their adult children fail to accommodate their wishes or acknowledge their feelings.
She's the mother I'm trying to be.