Whoever it was that said “You can’t go home again” never met yours truly. I’ve tried to go home again (too) many times in my thirty years of adulthood – one of those times I actually moved back in for a while – and I never had much trouble finding my way there from wherever I happened to be at the time. While it is true that things were not exactly the same at home when I returned there after being on my own, I always knew in my heart that I was welcome. I think this is largely due to the loving presence of my mother. Sure, we’ve had our differences over the years – what mother and daughter haven’t? – but she’s always believed in me, even when that wasn’t an easy or logical thing for her to do. As long as my mother is alive, and I am able to get in my car to go visit her, then I am sure I really, truly CAN go home again, and when I get there I’ll find a pair loving ears to listen to me and a pair of loving arms to hug me. And the best darned tuna salad sandwiches in the entire world.I don’t mean to downplay my father’s role in my life. He was and is in my corner too, in that post-Depression, pre-Seventies father sort of way; he’s quick with advice – some of it’s even solicited! –, and he’s generous with financial support if I need a hand(out). And despite our differences, I’m pretty sure he loves me, though it’s virtually impossible for him to say so. My dad “tells” me he loves me by driving to Northern Virginia from his home near Atlanta, Georgia to visit with me every year for my birthday, which is no small feat for a man in his late seventies.
But since Mother’s Day is almost here, I would like to dedicate the rest of my column to expressing my gratitude for my mother, that wonderful woman who brought me into this world fifty years ago (and still loves to remind me just how painful her labor was when I was born – sorry about that, Mom!) Thank you, Mom, for your wisdom, your generosity, your sense of humor, your love, and for making me feel special. Thank you for smiling when I gave you your Mother’s Day gifts when I was young, especially the ones that, in hindsight, I’m sure you wanted to throw in the trash immediately after you opened them. Thank you for always being interested in what I’m doing and thinking and feeling. And thank you for encouraging me to continue writing and for telling me how good I am at it, even though we both know I’m not going to be winning any Pulitzer prizes for my work any time soon.
Since I spent Easter with my mom this year, I won’t be going to see her this weekend for Mother’s Day. She lives nearly 400 miles away in southern North Carolina, a tiring seven-hour drive that I don’t undertake as often as I’d like to. As is our tradition, I’ll call her on Sunday and we’ll chat for a while, a conversation which will undoubtedly include her telling me for the hundredth time about those painful labor pains she had with me. After we say our goodbyes, I’ll resume my normal Sunday activities with my husband, who has it pretty easy on Mother’s Day since we don’t have any kids of our own. I’ll be a little sad that I can’t be with my mom to wish her Happy Mother’s Day in person, but I’ll also be comforted by the knowledge that whenever I want to go visit with her, her front door will be open for me, as well as her heart.
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