In My Ohio

On Mothers

Darren C. Demaree
This winter has held on too long, and for the fourth time in a one-month span, a different friend of mine has been forced to say goodbye to someone he loved a great deal, this time a mother. This friend is only a few years older than me, so on this morning, I find myself to be not only mournful for him, but also weary of this whole march. So, while she is still in full firecracker mode, allow me a few words for my own mother…
Jean, through your several re-inventions you have always remained a landmark of bottomless faith.

You have been kind and understanding and loving.

You have given me the room to re-invent myself many times, and you have cleaned me up after every single attempt to do so.

When a child runs out and tries to sneak back in, it’s the parent’s right to shine a spot light on them and embarrass them for trying. You never did that. You allowed me to hide behind you when I was weak, you allowed me to speak loudly when I felt I needed to, and your tone and support rarely changed in competition with my own boisterous groaning.

You never forgot what was important, and you never let me forget, either.

You have extended yourself to me with time, with effort, and even with money.

You have winked and nodded, been silly, been a movie date, and a great sharer of life’s simple treasures.

You showed me the ocean, both so I could love the ocean and so I could fight it.

You have given me a love of food, of cooking, of the experience of sharing a meal with people. Before I ever started to learn about the philosophies, humanism, or prostration acts, you showed me how to treat people in and out of the home. Every time I get to cook for a full table of people, I think of you.

You have been a tremendous grandmother to my own children, and they have already felt the same things towards you that I have. The role of grandparent is a completely under-appreciated one when you are the grandchild, but when you become the parent to the grandchild, the grandparents are one of the reasons why you have any level of success with your own children. They are backup, more love, respite, and chief spoiler. There are never enough thanks for an involved grandparent.

You have been equal parts whirlwind and gentle breeze.

You have shown actual strength. You have been a mother.

Years from now, if the aches of time turn into pain, and we must confront darkness, then we will do so, but for the decades we have left together, I wanted you to carry all of this with you. I wanted you to have the joy of my life resting in your hands, if only for the length of one more phrase, thank you.