absent, sight and mind?

I put a wreath, and a flag, and a solar rose on my dad’s grave this weekend.  And, I wondered, as I shoved the stake for the rose down into the ground, why it is that every time I go to dad’s grave it is obvious that no one else has been there since I left the last time.  I take mom once a month, and I try to get there once in between our visits.  Not because I haven’t worked through the grief process, or because it makes me feel important, but because I remember the way dad used to tend the graves of our grandparents, and how he didn’t want anyone to think no one cared, no one missed them. I think that he would have expected, and appreciated, that I am carrying on the job == finding sweet little flower arrangements and that ridiculous solar rose to brighten up a rather solitude spot on the outskirts of the city.  But, I cant help wonder, where are all the people he helped?  Drove places, bailed out of jail, sat with, gave money too, built things for and with.  Seriously.  I dont expect them to all flock to his grave on a regular basis, but on Fathers Day or Memorial Day or around the Holidays, on his birthday or his and moms anniversary, wouldn’t it make sense if the people who supposedly loved him, who wailed and cried when he passed, took a minute and put a flower or a seashell or a picture, on his grave?

Now, I know not everyone is cemetary comfortable.  Probably because I went with dad when he tended the grandparents graves, I am a little more comfortable than most in there, but really, a minute to brush the grass clippings off his name, or say a prayer, or cuss him out for dying before you were ready to lose him, something people.  Something.

Mother’s Day 101: Advice and musings from a “seasoned” mom

When you’re 5 Mother’s Day is a pretty big deal.  You spread toast with jelly, add the card you made in Kindergarten and carry the tray to mom who is “sleeping”  past her normal 5:00 am wake up call and serve her breakfast in bed.  By the time you are 12, you go all commercial and depend on dad or another willing driver to take you to the mall where you expand Hallmark’s coffer and choose a card — which can range from sentimental ” best mom ever” to a farting “how do you put up with me” piece of poetry.  And, if you’re lucky, dad throws in $10. so you can get her some flowers, or a piece of jewelry…In that strange period of time which marks the transition from high school senior to college freshman you see mom as a bit ( ok,a lot ) of embarrassment a good deal of the time.  So Mother’s Day gets the traditional treatment, maybe you and your siblings take her to brunch ( which consists of 45 minutes in line, past the time of your reservation and room temperature bacon served alongside something they call scrambled eggs and a massive hunk of prime rib, or ham….) .  During college Mother’s Day is, well its another Sunday after another “oh my God, the semester is almost over” Saturday night.  You call, and if you can you visit, hoping someone is making bloody Mary’s or mimosas, you know, “hair of the dog…”

Then, you graduate.  You get all melancholy that first year you have your own place, your own bills, your own, well, life.  And Mother’s day rolls around and you make plans to spend the day with mom, and when you get there she comments on your hair, and those jeans and asks if you’ve brushed your teeth or paid your college loan…and you wonder, “What the heck is this lady doing?  Trying to tell me what to do?”  And  you realize there are now two WOMEN in the conversation.  You realize, she doesnt…so you suck it up.

And then, its YOUR first Mother’s Day.  Glory of Glories you have birthed a child!  Trumpets announce the arrival and you sit royally in your throne awaiting the massive parade of guests and gifts.  NOT.  Your husband gets you one of those ” 3 for $10.” bouquets at Acme, the baby pukes all over the one clean blouse that fits those massive breastfeeding boobs and you are exhausted after 3 hours sleep.  Mom calls to ask when you are coming over and you secretly wish you were in Austrailia, with Alexander….

Years come and go and your children repeat the cycle.  You are amazed at how wonderful that jelly toast tastes, how your children chose the most perfect card — Hallmark must have studied my life to write this one —  You treasure the bacon and sing songs while you wait in line.

If you are lucky, and blessed, you will experience Mother’s day as a grandmother.  Yesterday as my husband and I sat on the beach, breathing in the salt and the calm, I pondered this day, my 7th. as a grammy.  I marvel at my daughters and their amazing babies — at their patience and work ethic and the different, yet equally effective lifestyle that they are living and raising their children in.  I treasure the way my son stepped in and raised his Ava, on his own, after her mom walked out on him, and her, at 5 months.   I laugh when I realize that I have had 6 grandchildren in 6 years, and now number 7 is on the way…

My husband sat a triad of gift bags on the counter on Friday.  He and two of the grandsons had gone shopping for my Mother’s Day gift.  Funny man — doesn’t he realize?  My Mother’s Day gifts surround me every day.

Happy Mother’s Day.  Enjoy the ride.