Posted by: ritagone | May 7, 2014

Mother’s Day


First, a medical update: my benign brain tumor has indeed shrunk since last captured on film or MRI or whatever you call it. I had the MRI and then Michael and I went to the neurosurgeon’s office last Friday for the reading and results of the same.

Suffice it to say that it was the fastest medical appointment in recorded history. I think the doctor was in the room with us for a total of perhaps 30 seconds all told. Which indicates to me that I am pretty far down on the “interesting” scale to him.

Which, don’t get me wrong, I’m very happy about.

So I’ll repeat the same procedure next year, with another MRI and another equally brief visit to his office to be told yet again that all’s well.

I hope.

So if you prayed, thank you for praying. And if you didn’t, that’s okay too. There were enough friends and family praying that God must have been listening. That’s the important thing.

Meanwhile, two events loom on the horizon right now that occur every May: Mother’s Day and my son Matt’s birthday. Sometimes they actually occur on the same day, which Matt for some reason finds personally offensive, as if Michael and I planned it out 39 years ago and deliberately chose to give birth on what would every so often turn out to be not only his birth day but Mother’s Day. At least this year, 2014, they are three days apart, so I won’t get the scowl and rolling of the eyes set aside for the years when they do coincide.

(It’s also my oldest granddaughter Meg’s birthday on the 15th of May, so we’re going for a triple crown celebration this Sunday. Why not? If we could celebrate Groundhog Day at the same time, we would. Saves a lot of time and energy. This family is difficult enough to get together as it is.)

Mother’s Day is a funny celebratory day for me. Birthday celebrations I understand: it’s your special day, the one day of the year which belongs to you in a special way, and on which people who love you come together to honor you and give you gifts. We always made a big deal of birthdays when my kids were growing up, but not just for the kids. The adults had birthdays too, and their celebrations were equally fun. In fact, I always got teased that my birthday celebration was not a day or even a week but often took up the entire month of September. Hey, I couldn’t help it if people wanted to take me to lunch or dinner from the beginning of September until the end. Was I going to ignore them or turn them down and hurt their feelings? Not on your life!

And there is no truth to the rumor that I took out ad space in the Los Angeles Times newspaper concerning my birthday. Word of mouth was totally sufficient to notify those who needed information about my celebrations and festivities.

And now, at my ripe old age, I make much less about my birthday than I ever did. Why, I’ve been known to let it slip silently by without a word or mention. Just watch me as September rolls around this year…

But Mother’s Day was always a source of conflict for me, because, to be honest, my mother was not a great mother, and there wasn’t a lot to honor about her on Mother’s Day. She wasn’t nurturing or concerned or particularly gifted in the area of motherhood, so setting aside a day to reflect on those attributes where she was lacking seemed rather indiscreet, to say the least.

When I had my own kids, I was thrilled if they wanted to celebrate Mother’s Day, because it indicated to me that I was at least the kind of mother they wanted to honor. Any show of affection and enthusiasm on their part said to me that I was doing a good enough job to warrant gifts and cards and hugs and kisses. Because I remembered how difficult celebrating Mother’s Day was for me toward my mother, I made sure my own children weren’t being forced to offer an acknowledgement that they didn’t really feel (encouraged say, by their father). When they were old enough to truly express their own feelings and attitudes – both good and bad, sarcastic and humorous and extremely emotionally loving – and I knew I was loved as their mother, imperfect as I was and am, I cannot begin to tell you the joy that permeated Mother’s Day for me from then on.

Now I love Mother’s Day. Sad to say, one of the reasons is that my mother is no longer with us, so I don’t have to force anymore a joviality about her mothering skills that was just never there. I love Mother’s Day because both of my children are parents themselves and know what it takes to earn praise from a child about his or her own parenting skills. I love Mother’s Day because – every so often – it lands on the same day that I gave birth to my son, making it an extra special Mother’s Day with the best bonus you can have.

And I love Mother’s Day because it’s the greatest excuse in the world to get together with my family and celebrate how much we love one another and what we mean to each other.

So happy Mother’s Day to you if you’re a mother, happy Mother’s Day to you if you’re a child with a mother you love, and happy Mother’s Day to you if you’re going to celebrate Mother’s Day with someone you love.

It’s a really great excuse to love one another!!


  1. Great news. Enjoy the celebrations!

  2. Thank you for always making me laugh with your wonderfully refreshingly witty honest personality! There is only one You and I’m so happy you are my friend! HAPPY MOTHERS day.

  3. Rita, Love your refreshing honesty! Totally feel the same about my bdays now… want them to pass by quietly. But Mother’s Day fills me with great thankfulness that God has entrusted me with these precious daughters who fill my life with joy, love, and lots of growth-producing opportunities. 🙂

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