Hello, Jared here. I am not great with graphics, HTML, or general Blogging Fanciness like Nance is, so this post may lack some of the aesthetic pinache of a Typical Nance Post. While she takes a break from blogging, and in honor of Mother's Day, I wanted to contribute in her stead.
I remember spending the morning at the desk in my bedroom with my brother. We were so young, and we wanted it to be perfect, so we spent a long time trying to figure out what the perfect picture to draw was. Trying so hard to fold thick awkward card stock precisely and sharply. Thinking long and hard about what we wanted to say so that everything was perfectly put in a way to conjure up memories and the good feelings that we had so that on Mother’s Day, our mother could open up the handmade card and know how much we love her.
Things aren’t so different now. Sure, Sam and I don’t live at home. We aren’t folding handmade cards. We both put to rest any idea that we were artistic enough to do accurately portray all of the things that we had. Some things, though, are remarkably similar. Sam and I share an apartment. We both want to do special and nice things for our mother and father. We both still have no idea how we can possibly do that in a way to radiate the love that we have felt every single day.
Those cards from my youth were full of things like “whether it is going to a movie and lunch, or talking about books”, and trying to come up with our favorite things about those moments, about our mother. All of those times, those wonderful experiences still matter. I still carry them around with me every day. I still remember leaving the theatre and talking to my mother about the film in a way that made me feel very adult, very smart, and very complete. Now, though, there are different things to take away from those times, those moments, and those feelings.
My mother often says to me, when I find myself in a time of anger or hurt, that “it doesn’t cost anything to be kind”. And yes, while there is no financial obligation associated with commonplace kindness, there is a real and tangible cost. You can set yourself up for vulnerability, let down, and more hurt or anger. My mother knows this, and, in my adulthood, I’ve come to understand exactly what she meant by those words. Simply, there is no cost that is too great to pay to do a kindness unto someone that you love.
2017 has, for a few reasons, not been tremendous for me so far. I have leaned on my mother more frequently in the last handful of months than I have needed to in the last handful of years, it seems. No, her taking my aimless phone calls during boring and lonely days doesn’t cost her money. The dog and I showing up at her house with little to no notice causes her exactly zero monetary hardship. There is, however, a cost to all of those things, and my mother pays it over and over with no thought to how it may affect her because in her mind, being there for me in those ways is simply practicing what she preaches, and the cost of kindness for someone that you love is always zero.
I have learned a great many things from my mother. My gift with language, my analytical nature with feelings, films, and books. My practicality, empathy, and compassion. (And apparently the Oxford comma). Most importantly, I have learned to be kind and patient and to always do the best I could to think outside of myself, the moment, and what was best for me. I think that the best way to put all of those things under one umbrella is to say that, simply, my mother has taught me how to be an adult, and she did so through an unrelenting practice of the best ways that I can find to describe kindness.
People make jokes about “turning into their parents” on television and in movies all the time. I can feel myself turning into my mother. I’m prouder of the man that I’m becoming now than I ever have been in my 32 years. It would be foolish to ignore the fact that this change, this sort of acceptance of self and circumstances has come in the time that I needed and relied on my mother the most.
So, on this Mother’s Day, I ask you not to think of times, gifts, or tangible memories of your mother. Instead, reflect on what those things mean. The intangible aspects of what those times were, and how they shaped you.