Beltane                              Waning Flower Moon

Already down to 33.  Bound to head lower.  Glad I covered all the tender plants.

Mother’s day has little resonance for me.  Mom has been dead now for almost 46 years, meaning she’s been dead as long as she was alive.  I passed her 17 years ago.  It feels strange to have lived into areas of life which my mother never experienced:  near retirement age, grandkids, dealing with the inevitable losses of friends and loved ones other than your parents.

It’s not that I didn’t love my mom.  I did.  It’s just that home faded away for me the year after she died.  I went off to college, then got involved in the political radicalism of the 1960’s and became estranged from Dad.  In essence that meant I became estranged from Alexandria, Indiana, too.  I grew up there from age 1 and a half on, experiencing those magical years of pre-teen life when the world has not much larger compass than your street, your friends, your parents, but after age 18 I returned only very occasionally, for ten years, not at all.

Of course, Mom was important in my life.  She loved me and believed in me.  She and my aunt Virginia nursed me back to health after a serious bout with polio.

What we remember and what actually influenced us, of course, are not always (ever?) true to the lived experience, but they are true for our psychic life and I have a particular memory of Mom that was formative.  One year a garden spider built a web over the window in our kitchen, the window next to the kitchen table where we ate breakfast.  All spring and summer Mom and I watched that spider, watched her repair the web, spin up her prey, eat them.  What I recall most from that was the sense of wonder, of awe that came off Mom in gentle waves.  She also took insects outside in a kleenex and let them go.  I do, too.

I also remember times when she took to me an ice-cream parlor when I got straight A’s on my report card, which was all the time so I got a lot of ice cream, but more than that, I had the attention and time with Mom.  I was close to her side of the family, the Keatons, growing up and have continued my close connection with them over the years.  In part it was my way of staying connected to Mom, to her values and to the people and places that shaped her.

But Mother’s Day?  Nope.  Doesn’t work for me.  Too much Hallmark, too little real sentiment.