Saturday, May 10, 2008

Mother's Day ... or really passing (or paying) forward

My wife came from a strong family, father and mother, one brother, four sisters, all married and had families and have done okay - or well. I am sure success isn't measured in how many times one finds themselves in the news or hiding under their jacket as they go into the courtroom or jailhouse for testimony or treatment. It also doesn't seem to be in how many gold coins one wins or piles up in cool dusty caverns for Tom and Huck to find.

There was a Latte stand that had one of my co-workers stumped, the woman in the car in front of her had paid for her Latte. Random act of kindness and paying forward - Oprah just loves those people, and her audience will gush when she points it out and it rolls along so well. I think we have been watching 'Paying forward' during the entire history of humanity, from the farmer planting the last of his corn to bring the next crop even while his children are eating meager dried jerky and berries from last year, to the parents that carefully watch and encourage adventure and some success and failures in their children - knowing that perfection doesn't teach much about real life. As modern world connects us electronically and the government and media make us fear all the Strangers, the little random acts of kindness become significant - they are outside the norm, for today's society at least.

My wife finally found the perfect job, child care and it absorbs the 'grandmothering energy' that she is blessed with. Part-time, four hour days five days a week, and with infants and pre-toddlers. When I was in the third grade, I thought it was terrible that Soviet children had to be put in giant nurseries while their mothers slaved for the great god of Communist equality and efficiency. I liked my mother at home waiting for my return with my siblings. Ah, today's American mothers are slaving away for the lesser god of Consumerism 'one up on ya' and waste. I am taller now than then, too. Now I only pity the lost Romanian childhoods, and those children in care of the heartless government programs and employees that are only there for the paycheck and the social time with their co-workers. Mothers, grandmothers and those teachers and tender touching child care workers are all paying forward and giving generously to the next generations. And they only do it for the smile, the riveted look of wonder, for the laugh as tickled for the joy in those first steps, first words and growing strength and intelligence of the young pups. Hug them well and often, both the children and the women in motherhoods - they pay forward and I am only a guy in awe

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