Weekly gratitude practice: if it's not one thing it's your mother

I started this post last week but never finished it. Which pretty much describes my mental state for the past seven days or so. Posting it now, almost in time for this week’s. Sigh. Time to stop trying to play catch-up with my past imperfections.
  1. Doing things differently. Mom is very sick right now, and she’s a two-hour drive away from me. In the past, I would have charged down there and tried to save the world, exhausting myself in the process, crashing, and actually not contributing much to her health or well-being. This time, I listened to some feedback from trusted friends and gave love and support through the miracle of telephony. I was also able to help with some practical matters, like finding a pharmacy that she can reach by bus. Her health has deteriorated to the point where it’s not necessarily a good idea for her to leave home without assistance, but — miracle of miracles! — there’s a little something called the Home Health Aid industry that was created to remedy exactly the situation she and I are both in. I would much rather be down there in person enjoying her company — or even being annoyed by it, because, really, if it’s not one thing it’s your mother — but I’m especially grateful for my ability to listen to suggestions and to break out of old patterns of behavior that have outlived their usefulness.
  2. Mom herself is a pretty wonderful gift. Like most folks, I have a complicated relationship with my Mom, but overall our relationship is a source of strength and support for both of us. When I was a fresh-faced little babydyke with a tiny hickey on my neck from Yoolia Lanina, the Russian vixen from the Bronx with the Sinead-O’Connor haircut, my Mom turned to me and said, “I love you and support you just as you are, and I will no matter who you bring home.” I spent the next 15 years or so bringing home folks with an assortment of gender expressions, skin tones, and native languages, and she never reneged on that promise. When I was suffering so badly from my chronic illness that I couldn’t safely care for myself in my one-bedroom apartment, she took a few weeks off of work to stay with me and be my Mom. And when I called her bright and early on Wednesday and discussed the situation with her, she was chipper and positive and grateful in spite of the debilitating physical symptoms she’s been suffering from. I love that woman to no end, and I want her to be well and healthy and a part of my life for as long as possible.
  3. Telephony. It allows me to do so much with my life.
  4. A steady job. Having lived without one, it makes me especially grateful to have one now.
  5. Decent health insurance coverage. Ditto above.

4 Replies to “Weekly gratitude practice: if it's not one thing it's your mother”

  1. This is very moving. I have had a week of being stuck in a rut re: imperfections myself, and it is really healing to read someone else’s words about it and see someone else moving forward, step by step. This essay made me teary, reading about your complicated but loving relationship and your ability to find things to be grateful for and to be kind to yourself, even during a rough week. Thanks so much for sharing this. <3

    1. I’m glad it was helpful to someone. Your response reminds me that I really have almost no perspective on my written words, especially when they’re newly formed. All the more reason to be careful and protective about who I listen to when it comes to feedback. You definitely qualify as a trusted source!

  2. I love this post. I have a very loving relationship with my mother and I miss her. She’s still with us, but lives in Western New York with the rest of my family. She’s in her mid-80s and I cherish our phone time together. Many hugs.

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