Sunday, May 9, 2010

My Three Moms

A Mother's Kiss  [123/365]

That I've been learning to dance would delight two of my mothers -- the third would probably fold her arms, frown slightly, and tell me, "Well, you're a grown man, you can make your own decisions. Just remember to be considerate and a gentleman, and you'll make me proud enough." The first two were related by blood: my biological mother and her sister. The third was my paternal grandmother.

I never saw my mother or her sister dance, but I grew up hearing the stories of them tearing up the floor until the wee hours when they were younger. Those were the days of Glen Miller, Benny Goodman, and Harry James, and my mother loved to do the Jitterbug. My aunt preferred the waltz and she'd be thrilled to know that was the step I learned last night.

My grandmother was raised on a ranch in Montana by parents who lived well-nigh to the century mark. They were serious people, my great-grandparents, and took religion just as seriously. So did my grandmother and I suspect my sense of spiritual discipline comes from her. As far as I know, she never danced, except perhaps, at her wedding. The pursuit of "worldly pleasures" never had much appeal to her, but she loved life, and taught me to value stability.

My aunt taught me to have fun and God love her for it. She carried more responsibility than her small frame ought ever have had to bear, but if she couldn't find the silver lining in a dark cloud, she made one. I learned from watching her there are some things no one should tolerate and finding a way free is just as important as being able to endure. And how we do both is a mark of character.

My mother taught me to cook. "You may marry a girl who knows how and then again, you may have to teach her. In the meantime, I don't want you to starve." Thanks, mom, I got the message, especially when it comes to baking. She also taught me to stand up for myself and take calculated risks going after the things I believed in. "You'll never have any of them if you don't at least try."

I'm very fortunate to have had my three moms and I wish all of them were here to dance with, even if my grandmother typically blushed and wanted to beg off. They're not, and yet they are, and always will be.

Particularly on Mother's Day.

(Creative Commons image by Lab2112 via Flickr)
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