If I had to give us, (the people in my family) a grade on how we performed yesterday, I’d give us all an A. An A for choosing to stay present. For being in the moment.
And letting the love that exudes from James be the glue that binds us together.
Even if it’s messy.
I’m not going to lie; it was a hard day for me. To begin with, I’ve never been a big fan of Mother’s Day, since I lost mine so young. Every year the day seemed to be a reminder of my failure as a daughter, because I wasn’t nice to my mother. And I know that. (I even have a tape recording of me calling her stupid. Sigh. Someone should have smacked me repeatedly.) I was young and selfish and I didn’t know how to love her. And then, she died before I could grow up enough to fix any of it. And then, after I became a mother, the day reminded me that I was again failing. Failing my son James.
It’s all a little better now. In the way that a few days after a hard work
out you are less sore. Things still hurt, but you are able to go up and down the steps without moaning. I “get through” Mother’s Day.
But yesterday, because James’ birthday fell on Mother’s Day, we got to focus more on him. But James, because of his disabilities, doesn’t care that it is his birthday. He would just as soon stay in his room and watch Little Einstein’s on his IPad. But letting him do that doesn’t feel good to us, so we pull and prod him to celebrate.
We did all of James’ favorite activities; we swam, we ate yogurt, we played Duck Duck Goose. His cousins Nichole and Joe and Chris gave him knuckle balls and piggy back rides. He even (miraculously) showed interest in opening up a present or two, but wanted nothing to do with the candles on his Mango Key Lime Pie. But over all, he did good, in what I know (because of the Autism) were incredibly uncomfortable situations for him.
We took James’ lead and for the day, and we didn’t let the uncomfortable situation keep us in our separate mental spaces. We came together. Instead of the awkward pulling-apart that happens when a family goes through a divorce, all of the adults acted like adults, put aside our own agendas, and laughed and sang and loved.
This was God. This was messy glue. It may not have been pretty, but it did the job.
James got lots of presents, but as always, he gave more than he received. He served as our teacher and our guide and kept us all present. I’m guessing that if every family going through a divorce had James in the middle of it, there’d be a lot less anger and sadness. It’s really impossible to be angry when someone taps you on the head and says “goose”!
Happy 10th Birthday to the love of my life. I am honored to be your mother and will continue to strive to be better at taking care of your soul.
And to my own mother, I’m sorry.
You were not stupid. You were kind and beautiful and doing the very best you could at a very hard job. I know that now. Happy Mother’s Day mom.