Lebanon Reporter

Features

May 12, 2014

On Mother's Day weekend, things I wish I taught my son

(Continued)

This Mother's Day, I'll be on the opposite coast from my sons and their dad — and from my mother, too. I'll be reading from my new book in Danville, Calif., while back in Massachusetts the assorted members of my two families will probably be just as glad not to go through the motions of a holiday in which none of us fully believe. Through my childhood, in fact, the second Sunday in May passed like any other. "Mother's Day," my father was fond of declaring to me and my sister, "is just a cunning invention of Fanny Farmer candies, Hallmark cards and the florist industry. You should appreciate your mother every day." Not until my 20s did I begin to observe, and feel guilty about, all the brunches and bouquets and missives of adoration my peers lavished on their moms. Imagine my mother's bemusement when suddenly I began to mark the day with calls and cards, even the random potted plant.

Once, when I phoned and Dad answered, I said (amnesiac me), "Did you do something special for Mom today?" He said: "Why? She's not my mother." Which reminded me, piercingly, that my father lost his mother in his early teens — and led me to wonder if the true reason we'd shunned the niceties of Mother's Day had little to do with unbridled commerce.

Readers tell me that my novels are filled with significant mothers. Do I realize this? Do I do it on purpose? The truth is, I don't. I think of myself as a writer of family stories. I write more often than not from a male point of view, and I usually begin by focusing on siblings, spouses, even fathers, before I think about the mothers. (Maybe, when I look in that direction, the light is just too bright.) But the mothers will have their say. Mothers always do. It occurs to me that in the web of what-ifs I spin in each story, I am sometimes trying out or even trying on different ways of fulfilling this role, whether my characters are exemplars to whom I could never live up or cautionary tales above which I hope to rise.

Text Only
Features

Featured items
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die Raw: MH17 Passenger Remains in Kharkiv, Ukraine Raw: Israel Hits Gaza Targets, Destroys Mosques ShowBiz Minute: Hoffman, Oberst, Box Office WWII Vet Gets Medals, 70 Years Late Raw: Israel Bombs Multiple Targets in Gaza Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks From Space Station Widow: Jury Sent Big Tobacco a $23B Message New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts UN Security Council Calls for MH 17 Crash Probe Obama Bestows Medal of Honor on NH Veteran Texas Sending National Guard Troops to Border Hopkins to Pay $190M After Pelvic Exams Taped Foxx Cites Washington 'Circus Mirror' NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide