I was reading that it is never ever St. Patty’s Day on March 17. But, today is March 15, and Patty’s Day it is, the erstwhile day of birth of my old, and not quite sainted mother.
Erstwhile, perhaps, because can you celebrate birthdays when the guest of honor no longer stomps the earth?
So many reasons to think of my mother, Pat, today. Not the least of which is being there for the funeral of M.’s mother. The ceremony, the prayers, the food, the people, the rituals so different. Yet the similarities so deep.
Both M. and I grew up with just one parent. My dad died when I was four. His dad and mom split when he was a kid and then dad died young. Now we are both orphans together.
Like for my mother’s wake, a wave of older people came by for M.’s mother. So many people identifying as friends, explaining who they were, where they lived, how lives intersected. For both women, the presence of these mourners spoke to affections and warmth and relationships that we, as children, did not know. Shading into depth the women we knew only as mom, but they knew as a friend.
Comic relief: My favorite old broad who came by to say goodbye to M.’s mom, walked up to him, and I’m told said to him, “If you don’t remember who I am, I will slap your face.”
I hope a long line of people drops by my remaining body to call me friend in the end. Of course, I hope more to have more years of partying it up and making and having friends.
M. and I have talked about our mothers. It seems to me that they were both gentle people bruised by unexpected circumstances and tragedies big and small. Each woman was shy and reserved, sometimes too passive, sometimes just bound to get the smallest piece of pie, shortest straw or dealt the unlucky hand.
Each of them squirreled away pennies, sacrificing their own wants, for their kids.
Consequently, M. and I each rail against an imagined fate, louder, stronger, more resolute than the women who raised us. We don’t save money for cake tomorrow. We buy cake today and enjoy it with gusto.
Holy shit, I wanted this one to be funny and light. As the kids say — FAIL.
Here’s the manifesto to put the morose and melodramatic bullshit behind.
Every month of March, every year, hell every freaking day, I want to remember and climb on the hand offered to me. Our mother’s didn’t die in vain. Our mother’s didn’t live lives of privation for no reason. Precisely because our mother’s didn’t have every opportunity and real life undercut their dreams, we will live ours.
Don’t wait. Don’t stop. Don’t allow worry and anxiety to be roadblocks.
Dream and more importantly act.
Hate your fucking job? Leave.
Landlord sucks? Move.
Tired of the cold and snow? Relocate.
Today, and I hope every day, if I don’t fucking laugh at least once, I haven’t done it right.
For both our mother’s, who weren’t given the chances to do it all, we will try to cram in the fun we can in the days we have left. Misery is not an option.