Sunday, May 10, 2015

When We Go Boom

My mom fell down. If you're of a certain age with a parent of a certain age, you know what that phrase means. Or can mean. In my case, it meant that my heart leaped to my throat, and I began to imagine all the things that might have happened. The happy news was that the bag of laundry she was carrying broke her fall, and while it's generally never a good thing for human beings to fall anywhere, and it turns out she is going to be okay. Bumps and bruises. A cut on her forearm. No broken bones. There was relief from all quarters as my family breathed out and the alarms were turned off. But we all realized we must be ever-vigilant.
This comes as a creeping annoyance for my mother, who prides herself on her independence and tenacity. These were also, coincidentally, qualities she helped her sons gather in abundance. Just like she gave us all her capacity to care. Deeply. I can understand how frustrating it must be to have her children checking up on her, making sure she is okay. That's kind of the way her boys used to feel when we were off on our next adventure or escapade. I know that any fear that I may have experienced upon hearing about my mother's tumble was nothing compared to what she must have felt when she got the call about me being hit by a car. Or the sight of my younger brother and I standing on the shoulder of the road where I had just recently driven my older brother's truck, nearly rolling the two of us down the side of a mountain. And on and on. I cannot complain about my mother testing my adrenal glands, since there were three of us, and only one mom.
That is why, on this Mother's Day, I would like to salute all the mothers I know who pick us up, dust us off, and help us start all over again. I know how different it was to have a scraped knee with my father. I got love. I got attention, but mom could make a boo-boo better than anyone. I know that I have never felt more out of my depth as a parent than when my son was hurt and I was left to make all better. I couldn't. That was what mom could do. It is their peculiar magic. Over the years I have adopted the language and mannerisms. I use the same cotton balls, hydrogen peroxide and band-aids, but it's just not the same. It is the magic touch that makes falling down okay. Not just because we know that we can get back up again, but because of the love we receive on the way back up. Thank you, mom.

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