Monday, May 10, 2010

Mothers Day

Mothers Day.

Brings lots of thoughts and lots of memories and a lesson or two...

I learned a long time ago how unimportant many of the days are that society deems crucial to celebrate. When I became a Navy bride in the mid '70's, I learned quickly to appreciate the days and the times I had WHEN I had them. I learned in my first year of Navy bride hood that holidays like Christmas and Easter and Thanksgiving only existed on the calendar. My very first year of marriage there was only my father and me and having just lost my mother eleven days after my wedding, dad and I found that having each other was what counted.
At my age now I don't remember a lot about that time but I do know that where I stand today on the importance of family was outlined in June of 1975.
My husband-to-be came home to California from the Virginia coast shortly before he was to leave on an 8 month Med. cruise. In a two month time span I managed to put together a small wedding event. We were married in the backyard of my childhood home, primarily because my mother couldn't travel anywhere. We stood underneath the tree I had climbed since I was 8 years old and said our "I do's" after dad walked me across the back patio deck that he had built a few years prior. The gathering was small with a few of my cherished friends and family.
We spirited away on our honeymoon (a cabin at Soda Springs donated by one of my best friends' father--thank you Debbie and Colonel Wiley!) and upon our return it was the next day that mom passed away, on my 21st birthday. The day after that my husband left for his long cruise.
I remember simply daily survival and numbness, I don't remember Thanksgiving. I couldn't tell you what we did. I just remember that having my dad around was pretty special.
Christmas came and that brought my husband home as well.
The years went on and as they did holidays would coincide with a mini-cruise, duty nights on the ship or just plain work. The Gub'ment stops for no personal celebrations. We were fortunate enough for daddy to be available when our two children were born; although there was a tentative duty trip for daddy when Number 2 was to arrive. Daddy was headed out for a recruiting session with a young applicant and the parents when #2 woke mommy out of a sound sleep at 4:00 a.m. with back cramps! I took my bath (sheeesh, I even shaved my legs! got my clothes together and drove myself to the hospital). When the nurses said "you're dilating and you're not going home" I called daddy and said, "We're having a baby today!" he canceled his work day. Much easier done on land and out in the boonies than on a very busy ship even in port.
Birthdays came and went, anniversaries come and gone and finally some time around 1995 when the kids were 5 and 6 years old, daddy moved away to Long Beach, California courtesy of U.S. Navy transfer papers. We were living in rural Montana. I stayed behind with the kids in the home we owned and shared my life with other single wives and kids. And believe me, there were quite a few of us. I was a stay-at-home mom and so were my closest friends. We were all the kids had left. So we had dinners at each others' homes, we went on picnics and hikes and celebrated the kids' birthdays the best way we knew how. I remember the Christmas of '95 and the wonders of technology. Our neighbors Terry and Jeannie had loaned us a telephone with speaker capabilities! We would now be able to share our Christmas with daddy long distance! Daddy was able to hear the rustling of ripped papers and the squeals of the kids as they opened their presents and we all were able to share our excitement and via telephone. At least we had that.
That was just one segment of the years of learning that have finally brought me to the place I am now.
The other day my daughter called and wished me happy Mothers Day. It wasn't THE day and she spoke of feeling guilty about not sending a card and that she had been waiting for "a present to come and it wasn't here yet and mom I feel bad". My words to her? "Why on earth would you feel guilty? I get you and the grandsons next weekend! It doesn't matter that it isn't on THE DAY". Besides, I had to work on Mothers Day so I would have been a little sad if they were in the area and I couldn't share that day ON THE DAY that is marked on the calendar. These times make the times I do get to share moments so much more precious.
In my life I have some great mommies I include in my Mommy Circle:
My wonderful mother-in-law Dorothy, my beautiful daughter Sara/mommy of two fabulous boys, my spiritual girlfriend Gracie who is so like me she's the sister I sat next to on the Bus Bench in heaven, my sister-in-law Rhett who I touched base with after a long long lost time and she was my maid of honor and my stepmother Fran who was the only real grandmother my kids ever knew and took over being my friend and mother and Debbie/mother of 5 who was my single wife girlfriend when our husbands were working elsewhere.
These are the people who share my heart and love and I love them. No matter what day it is.