Sunday, May 10, 2009

Cool mom

I'm here to tell you that Mother's Day lacks the really REALLY good line that I use year after year for Father's Day. After all, Nathan Grantham doesn't say "It's Mother's Day, Bedelia!!" Mother's Day does, however, have its requisite horror movie, which I have never seen but from the looks of it, appears to be a semi-retread of Texas Chainsaw Massacre in that it has a redneck family and unsuspecting teenagers stumbling onto their property. And how can one forget what is perhaps the most dysfunctional mother-son relationship of all in Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho?

But this is post is not about all that. Yes, it is Mother's Day. But I don't want to talk about blood and guts and gore and crossdressing. I'm here to pay tribute to my own mom. A lot of my friends accuse me of having the coolest parents ever. And, well, it's all true. Look, she was even cool back in 1972 when posing for one of our first pictures together! (and looking at that picture, I am reminded that it is the Cullinan side to blame for the curly hair!)

No one ever thinks that their parents are cool when they're growing up. I think that if you don't go through a certain amount of rebellion against those who raised you, you've missed some essential part of development. Mine was certainly more subdued than others, but it still happened. I look back on my teenage years and sometimes I just shudder! But Mom was always there. Even at those times that I was pretty sure I didn't want her there, she was patient and helpful without being overly involved. That's one of the things I realize now, with the benefit of 20 years of hindsight. My mom and dad were always there for us, but they also had a healthy respect for boundaries.

One of my most vivid memories from those days was in 1988 and I had been invited to the prom by not one but two girls. I was a sophomore and both of the girls were juniors. While flattering, the bottom line was that, even at age 15, I really hadn't dated properly and, thanks to a self-esteem that was in the gutter and most likely undiagnosed depression (it was not the buzzword then that it is now), I didn't want to go with either or them. I was going to just ignore both and hope the problem went away, a pattern I still lapse into on my worst days. I was up in my room and my mom came up and gently but firmly that the situation was not going to go away and that other people and their feelings were involved. She gave me the courage that I needed to pull myself up out of my own mire and (yes) self-pity. My brain comes back to that conversation more than you might imagine. I wonder if Mom even remembers it.

Those kinds of life lessons carry forward, even now, at nearly 37 years of age. And my mom continues to be supportive in ways both big and small. They help us so much. They provide free child care frequently. They are going to babysit bad boy Blair while we are on vacation. But perhaps the best recent example was when things got really bad earlier this year and I needed to make a request of them, I knew that even though I was embarrassed to do so, that they would be there for us. And they were.

So here's to you Mom. I love you very much and, well, I guess I'll see you in a few hours!

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