The other night we were in a restaurant, no kids, and we heard a little boys uproarious laughing. He was giggling while he watched a little wind-up toy jump and flip in front of his hands. His youngish parents were enjoying his pleasure and delight and I found myself equally caught up in the spirit.
But, it also created a moment of melancholy as I reflected on how so many of those childhood joys were over with my boys. Now, honestly, there are many of those so-called passages that I certainly don’t miss. First on that list is the smell of baby wipes, and everything else that went with the diaper, poop, and changing stages. For years after they were toilet trained, I’d get a whiff of those smells, out of thin air, and breathe a sigh of relief that that phase was over.
For every one of those stages that I don’t miss are those, like in the restaurant, that I actually long for. Like when my boys would reach up and grab a hold of my hand. When walking hand-in-hand was special to them, even when they were so small that their arms were stretched up to reach my hand. I contrast that with my teen now, looking down on me, as I shake my finger up at him and announce “you’re grounded.”
As Mother’s Day rolls around once again, I find myself reflecting this year on the different obligations we feel towards those mothers in our lives, at different times and passages in our lives. As this is the second Mother’s day since my own mother died, I can’t help but remember her with the fondest recollections, avoiding the sad, last, and declining years of her life when a stroke took away her sparkle and delightful personality.
Call me sentimental, but I can’t help but offer items of tribute to my mother, and just a few of the better memories, as they serve to remind and help me to be a better person whenever I think of them. My mother used to say about friends that if you want perfect friends you won’t have any. This would come up when I’d be disappointed in the behavior of a friend and I can still hear her words today when I feel let down by a friend. But, my reaction is tempered by remembering her words and the friendships she held onto for decades, by not carrying a grudge.