Friday, February 03, 2006

Seeing Mom

I took Mom to the airport yesterday morning while E was still watching morning cartoons. Goodbyes are hard for him. (Who finds them easy?) I think he wanted to pretend, in some way, like nothing was different. But he'll miss Mommom a lot. And I'll miss her, too. [E just said, "Saying goodbye to Mommom sure does leave a stain in the hankie of life."]

Mom really just stepped into the rhythm of things here--which was great because there was lots going on. Monday morning she came to the first day of class with me. Although I didn't have a large role in the beginning session, it felt like such a privilege to have her there. She's seen me in my church role, preaching and leading worship. But never in my academic role. I was really glad to be able to share that piece with her.

I grew up in a house where we teased my Mom a lot. (Until the day she finally put her foot down about it. Though it was pretty late in the game.) I remember one of the more common things we'd say was that Mom couldn't 'walk and chew gum at the same time.' We used to laugh at how she'd get distracted, or lose focus if too many things were going on around the house.

Mom didn't start working full-time outside of the house until I was older. (Don't know how old.) One day I went to work with her. She was working as a school secretary for an Alternative High School--the last stop for kids before they were institutionalized or sent to prison.

I'll never forget how blown away I was by the millions of things my Mom was doing all at once. I felt ashamed that, although I thought we'd only ever been teasing, somehow I'd come to believe that Mom couldn't walk and chew gum at the same time. Up until that point as a child, I hadn't realized just how destructive this kind of teasing was. I woke up that day to see my Mom was the most competent, strong, professional, amazing woman I'd ever known.

Growing up through the seventies, I feel like I was a part of a generation who saw their moms go through the turbulent experience of coming into their own. This was an incredible privilege for me to see in my own family. And I'll always be proud of my mother's journey.

1 comment:

peripateticpolarbear said...

When my mom went back to work, she, also, was a school secretary....something I didn't appreciate the complexity of until I was in high school or so.