Posts tagged Mother’s Day
Happy Mother’s Day… from six feet away!!!
Mother’s Day usually led to a conversation I had with my mom almost every year. The language of adoption. Some famous person who had adopted a child would pass away and the reporter would usually state something like “Her children, John and Mary and her adopted son, Fred” and my mom and I would be unnerved that there would be a differentiation made.
In 1965, a young woman, no more than 19 years old, gave birth to me. I do not know the circumstances surrounding her decision to give me up for adoption but that was to be part of my story. Adoption and acceptance have always been important to me. My parents always told me I was special and I knew from the very beginning that I was adopted.
But that is where it stayed. It was part of my story that differentiated me from friends, classmates and even cousins. A closed adoption made final in 1967, my parents were Mary and Ernie Parmel – my parents. No “adoptive” – I was not referred to as “adopted”. And to the days after my parents both left this earth, I was their daughter.
Laws may change, new information may be garnered, even sealed records can be opened. That doesn’t change the fact that my mom raised me to be the person I am today – as her own. A friend who was also adopted once said to me that we didn’t grow under their heart but in it.
One thing I know for sure, my mom (and dad too!) is up there watching out for me, shaking her head at the crazy things I get myself involved in, wringing her hands with the things I do that she would have told me not to. On Mother’s Day, I realize that she was right 99.9% of the time, she worried about me more than she needed to, and I know that “paper is thicker than blood”, a phrase we laughed at.
And one more thing on this Mother’s Day…
Mostly all the people in my life, over all these years have told me that today we celebrate women who are mothers, who wish to be mothers, women who have lost children, who have chosen not to have children and those who did not have the gift of their own children in their lives. Faces, names, known or unknown, women that have given up a gift of a child, conceived in any circumstance should also be celebrated for their ultimate sacrifice – so that someone may have a better life – the child and the family they are given to. I thank the woman who gave me life – I hope that one day, I can thank her in person.
But I have come across a few people that believe that if you do not have children or if you are not their mother, they shouldn’t wish you a Happy Mother’s Day; those people choosing to walk past someone while acknowledging another just steps ahead or behind them. Just stop and think sometimes if you are guilty of marginalizing someone like that – you don’t know how deep the hurt you cause can go. May those who do that never find themselves in the same position – or maybe it would give them pause for thought. After all, some of the deepest hurts are caused by three little words not being said. It is always three little words, right?
Happy Mother’s Day to everyone!
And I mean EVERYONE!!
The Unlimited Mother’s Day
“Women who have mothered, guided, supported, and loved people that they didn’t give birth to (and yes, pets are absolutely included in that). Having a family isn’t a right; it’s a privilege. Sometimes sharing DNA with someone makes you family, and sometimes it doesn’t. It’s about how you treat people. You can have a mother figure in your life, a best friend that’s more like a sister, or a boss who’s mentored you from day one, and that woman is just as important (and for some, more so) as the one who did or didn’t raise you.”
The quote above was from an online article entitled “Why You Should Celebrate All Women on Mother’s Day” by Jenna Whitecar. This article caught my attention for many reasons.
The debate rages on about Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and surely, other holidays. I have heard how Hallmark created holidays which led all us Americans to celebrate “fake holidays” – fine that they were “inspired”, I will not call them “fake”.
I was raised to respect everyone and understand their positions in life. Some people become parents, by nature or by choice; some people lead lives single, some marry; some are loners while some long for a familial embrace. I have led a life filled with the embrace of many family members and I have watched as family numbers have dwindled. I have seen the same things happen with extended family. And although I am admittedly not the best person when it comes to holidays, birthdays, card-sending and all, I do believe that when it comes to holidays, well wishes for the day should be unlimited.
For those of you that don’t know my background, I was adopted. The woman who I called my mother, Mary Parmel, did not give birth to me. But she and my father saved my life at the ripe old age of five months. No, I am not implying that the circumstances surrounding my birth were dire – I am simply stating that the two people who went through years of meetings, interviews, home checks and more, provided for me a life I would not change. My parents gave me home, shelter, love and family; they gave me the gift of knowing that extended family comes in all forms – all my parents’ childhood friends from Queensbridge Projects became my Aunts and Uncles – and are to this day, alive or passed, all due the respect for their lives, stories and place in my life.
To know that some people place limits on relationships truly resonates with me on Mother’s Day especially. My mother was famous for her “expectations” – she could be quite critical when those expectations were not met by anyone she thought should – and she would let you know that as well. But the one thing she made sure I knew UNEQUIVOCABLY was this – respect was paramount.
To this day, I still address all my Aunts and Uncles by their titles and names. It is something that I feel shows respect and honors what my father and mother taught me – it may be an old way of thinking, but respect is tantamount to fostering those special relationships.
On a day like Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, the debate rages on whether or not you should wish someone who does not have children, well wishes for the day.
“Women who have mothered, guided, supported, and loved people that they didn’t give birth to (and yes, pets are absolutely included in that).” I have taught hundreds of students (some who have liked me, some who have hated me and some who still call me “Miss Parmel”); I have employed over 65 people who have called me by “Jane” (and probably a few other names I cannot publish in an otherwise ‘G-rated’ blog post), who call me to this day, asking for guidance, answers and support for themselves and their new ventures; and I even had a puppy who showed that I can actually take care of a living creature!
“Having a family isn’t a right; it’s a privilege.”
My mother and father believed this whole-heartedly; the rest of their families did as well, creating their families through adoption many times over.
“You can have a mother figure in your life, a best friend that’s more like a sister, or a boss who’s mentored you from day one, and that woman is just as important (and for some, more so) as the one who did or didn’t raise you.”
Marie, Marie-Ange, Liz, Rae, Janet, Lucille, Margie, Suzy, Peggy, Aunt Mary D., Auntie Lil, Barbara, Theresa, Pina, Lella, Elina, Susan; Aunt Flo, Aunt Marie, Marvy, Carmen. Just some of the names that have filled “family” over the last half-century.
So debate if you want, ignore the nurturing, ignore the value of community, negate another’s journey. It’s entirely up to you. Acknowledging what position someone has had in your life and the place you hold them in your hearts should never be up for debate. Wish them a happy whatever the day is.
“Sometimes sharing DNA with someone makes you family, and sometimes it doesn’t. It’s about how you treat people.”