Mother’s Day, Wine, Joy, Life and Death

Happy Mother’s Day. Random thoughts:

Why do I always weep when my college-age children leave to go back to college? I’m turning into my mother!

My Mom died on 3/3/07. In a strange synchronicity, 3307 was the house number of the first house where we lived in Arlington, Virginia. We moved there from an apartment, which I also remember, when I was two, and moved to Warrenton, Virginia when I was five or six.

My Mom played and taught piano. Her musicality was passed on to me, and in turn to my own children. My oldest daughter, a terrific soprano, is studying vocal performance at University of Central Florida, my oldest son is studying guitar performance at Florida State University, my youngest daughter is a massively gifted alto who is studying vocal performance and musical theatre in high school, and my youngest son enters middle school this fall and will be singing in the best middle-school choir in the area.

The first of five children, I remember family dinners as well as dinner parties when we were allowed to taste wines, which my parents called “Burgundy” or “Chablis.” That was in the ’60s and ’70s, when jug wines and Riunite-type wines were best-sellers before the emergence of California as a serious player in the world of fine wine-making.

A lot of fishing happened in my family. Dad often made a pilgrimage to Michigan to go trout or salmon fishing. Family vacations were to the wild, wonderful Outer Banks of North Carolina, where we kids would dig in the sand and play in the ocean waves while Dad went surf fishing. This was many years before “Jaws” scared the shit out of me and made it impossible for me to joyfully frolic in the ocean any more. I was literally dragged to see the film when I was in college by a guy who had seen it five times. That should have been a clue.

For the first time, this year my thoughts about Mother’s Day are not so much about my own late Mom, but about myself as Mom to my children, and also the concept of mothering myself. Sure, I’m a Mom, daughter, granddaughter, sister, lover, friend, and a community leader of sorts through the magazine I publish.

But the theme of this year has been about finding ways simply to be joyful; to grow as a person; to do what I want to do, such as travel; to stop doing what I don’t want to do; and to figure out how to achieve short-term goals including living oceanfront half the time (when the two youngest kiddos aren’t at home with me).

I finally figured out that life just keeps expanding, and all we have to do is simply keep picking new things to do in the Eternal Now. Ya might as well pick good and fun things to do. Children, love, trips, the ocean, house concerts, good wine, friends, doing a good job in all the things I do—these have become the most important components of my life.

I think Mom would approve. Play on, Mom—play on!

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