Sunday, December 30, 2012
Today my mother would have been 96. She’s been dead for more than three decades, and I’ve lived more of my life without her than with her, yet every year at this time I remember her birthday, and her.
She died when I was in (very) early adulthood, too early for me to learn about what that phase of my life would be like. Because my father died some seven months earlier, there was no one left to answer my questions, to warn me of pitfalls or offer advice (solicited or not), nor, to be honest, to catch me when I stumbled. And I did.
Yet I found my way, helped by some amazing people (and some of them are now gone, too). From each I learned something that built on what I learned from my parents, my mother in particular. All of that led me to where I am now (literally and figuratively).
And yet today, as I was thinking about my mother’s birthday, and the impending new year, I wondered to myself at one point, “would she be proud of me?” It was a silly thought, because the only logical answer is “of course!” She was proud of me when she was alive, and I’m at least as good a person now as I was then (better, I like to think).
And in the years since she died, there have been plenty of things I’ve done or accomplished that I knew would make my parents proud. I was never one of those kids who spent their lives trying to win approval from their parents, and definitely not one who never got that approval. My parents made it clear I always had their support, approval and love. They were proud of me.
So the question that popped into my head today was actually more about what they’d think of what I’ve accomplished so far in my life. Yes, of course they’d be proud. But I also thought, in the kind of existential/temporal conflict kind of way that I seem to do, them being here to be able to be proud of me would mean that my life would be completely different—it would change everything, and I probably wouldn’t have had anywhere near the life I’ve had. Yeah, I laugh at myself for thinking like that, too.
This evening Nigel and I took the dogs down to the habour for a walk. It was nice. As we drove home, the rain started to spit, and when we got to the top of our drive, there was a rainbow with one end seeming to disappear behind the house right in front of ours—the rainbow’s end seemed to be our house!
No, we didn’t find a pot of gold when we got here, but maybe I found something else. The treasure my parents, my mother in particular, gave me all those years ago is still keeping me. And I’ve found the end of my rainbow, right where I live. That’s even better than a pot of gold.
Thanks, mom. And Happy Birthday.
The photo above shows the rainbow this evening, which ended at our house (you can’t see our house in this photo because it’s behind, and somewhat downhill from, our neighbour’s house.
Tears of a clown – one of my favourite posts about my mother
Previous years’ birthday posts:
Memories and words (2008)
That time of year (2009)
Remembering birthdays (2011)