Gary Conkling Life Notes

Mostly whimsical reflections on life

Reflections on Mother’s Day

None of us would be here without mothers, and most of us wouldn’t be who we are without the influence of our mothers.

Mothers-Day-ImageEven though Mother’s Day is a commercial invention to see greeting cards, flowers and kitchen appliances, it is still an important day to reflect on motherhood. Especially if you are a guy.

My mother is headed toward 91 years old, still lives on her own and retains many of her passions, like watching sporting events.

My love of sports came from my mother. My father wasn’t especially athletic and, as the oldest child in a family without a consistent breadwinner, he got his workouts working multiple jobs.

My mom played high school basketball in an age when forwards played on one end of the court and guards on the other end. Dribbling was verboten. The game was all about passing and set shots.

By the time I took to driveway basketball, the game for men and women was changing. Fancy dribbling, cross-over moves and dunks were emerging as key skills.

Without the genetic gift of height, I turned to other sports and my mother gamely helped. We played catch. She came to my wrestling matches and squirmed in the stands almost as much as I did on the mat.

As a family, my dad, mom and I went to all kinds of sporting events – Golden Gloves boxing matches, semipro basketball games, minor league baseball and college football. We coached a girl’s softball team from the time they were 9 years old until someone of them went to college, a couple on scholarships.

Other than an uncle who shared his love for the New York Yankees with me, no one on either side of my extended family gave a hoot about sports. I might not have either, except for my mother.

Lucky and wise men live with the mothers of their children, which also teaches valuable lessons, such as unconditional love and forbearance.

Carole, like any mother, has up and down moments with her kids. They can delight one moment and disappoint the next. But she shows everyday that her love for them never wavers. She loves them, not always what they do.

Unconditional love by a mother doesn’t mean blind love. Carole can be a tough-love critic when the need arises. But she also looks continuously for the worthy and good, not just for the naughty and bad. And she is rewarded, rightfully, with tender affection.

Mothers become grandmothers and their love takes different forms. They become safety valves for overheated emotions between children and their parents. They also become a safe place to ask for financial help or a “job” to earn a little money.

Grandmothers offer comforting arms and an eagerness to read a bedtime story. They can be playmates and teachers at the same time. When they scold, it doesn’t have the sharp edge of a child’s mother or father because it almost invariably ends in a hug.

mothers-frontFor Mother’s Day, I’m taking my “mothers” to, where else, Mother’s Bistro for a Sunday brunch. It has become an enjoyable tradition, even as the timing to make a reservation has been pushed earlier. There is a lot of motherly love to go with all that good food.

Over Eggs Benedict, I will bask in the glow of the two mothers that I love sitting beside me. And after we leave with our tummies and hearts full, I will open the door of the car for both of them because one taught me that is what a gentleman does and the other because it is a simple way every day to show her the respect she deserves.

Happy Mother’s Day.



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