Truth time? For lots of people, Mothers’ Day is hard. Think about it. Perhaps your mom has passed on, as mine has. Perhaps your kids and grandkids are far away. Perhaps you’re a single Dad who is being both parents at once. Perhaps your family did not work in the way you needed it to. Perhaps you, or dear friends of yours, have lost children, or wished for them and not had them. Perhaps your children are suffering in their own lives. Perhaps… Perhaps… Perhaps…
But, Mothers’ Day is a time for remembering the fun, easy, joyful times and the challenging, sometimes frightening times that go along with being a family. We can try to focus solely on the greeting card times but eventually that gets exhausting because we’re not being fully honest.
I spent a lot of years learning about a thing called Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP), which is a lot like hypnotherapy and helps people to go past the hard things and focus on the promising times of the future, creating those times for their lives. The guru used to tell us that you could accomplish anything you desired if only you would focus on it and imagine fully doing it over and over again. Kind of like the way Olympic diver Greg Louganis says that he did every dive 1000 times in his head before he did it.
Well, I believe that’s true. Mostly. You may have heard me tell this story before…
When I was in high school, I was fascinated by pole vaulting. I’d watch the track team practice and wish it was me for just those few moments, flying. And then falling. I kind of ignored that part in my dreams. I wanted to pole vault.
So, when I was learning about NLP and listening to the guru saying we could accomplish anything, there was always this little voice in the back of my head whispering, “I really don’t believe I can pole vault.” And I don’t.
Part of that has to do with knees that are way less than optimal, along with a back that is, to say the least, undependable. Part of it has to do with physics. I just do not live in the sort of body designed to run really fast and then arch lightly into the air on a glorified fishing pole and fly gracefully until the moment when I begin to return, if not gently, then at least in one piece, to that big, bouncy pad on the ground. But, that doesn’t change the fact that I want to!
I’ve thought about this quite a bit through the years. And even more lately.
One of the guys in the news a lot lately (Well, not really as much as he should be, but that’s a problem for another day.) just stood up and said, “Together there is nothing that we cannot accomplish.” Somehow that kind of jolted me back to the early years when Dave was very small and it was just the two of us. (We had lots of help, but, in many ways, it was just us.) We accomplished quite a lot. I really have no idea how, except that I’d look at that little face that needed me so and get up the next morning and start again.
Every year, on Mothers’ Day, my mom would go buy a purse for Dave to give me. He’d be so proud. And once, when he was still sorting all the language issues out, he said, “Happy Mothers’ Day to us, Mama!”
He was exactly right! We weren’t doing it according to the fairy tales but we were doing it, together.
So why am I telling this story today, instead of one of a more Hallmark approved variety? Well, partially because I have a lot of friends who aren’t having Hallmark-y days today. And also because, for a lot of us, it’s nice to know that somebody gets it. And then, again, I suppose it has something to do with the really cool guy running around the country, trying to help moms and families, and reminding us in so many ways that, “Together there is nothing that we cannot accomplish.” That’s a great thing for moms to believe!
If I ever get to meet him, I might ask about pole vaulting. Until then, I am choosing to believe. It’s worked for me before!
PS-The flowers are for you, whatever day you’re having, from my garden with love.