The day after Mother's Day never feels right. The celebration comes and goes, but you don't. You stay. And because you do, things are going to be okay.
Do you know what I mean? How silly of me. You always know what I mean, even when I don't. But this time I do know, and to be sure I never forget, I want to put it into words.
You don't talk much about your childhood, but when you do, it's a bit surreal to those of us who listen in. The photo albums show pictures of you and your college pals all girls in uniforms. School uniforms, in college?! Oh, how times have changed. I think you're glad they have. And with the changes, you've adapted. I like that, Mom. You and Dad were never afraid to take to the road with us in tow. Cities, schools, and seasons were archived, at times abruptly and to us kids' dismay, into what is now just memory lane. But all the time, in the midst of such flux, something curious was going on inside. The more things changed, the more we as a family stayed the same.
And that's because you stayed. You stayed the same, as you always do.
We knew relocating was more about healthy adventure than an extra buck. We knew your firm hand was backed by Dad's. We knew the teachers' word, right or wrong, would always hold the day. We knew food was an undeserved blessing, and education was too. We knew your faith in God was neither a crutch nor a cross, but rather a joyful, heartfelt commitment. We knew the poor and disabled, brought off the street to share the table of our Thanksgiving Day, would always smell...badly.
We also knew that not all of our friends were so lucky. Across and down the street, permissions were bartered, instead of principles being explained. Their dinner hour had been replaced by the same soccer practice as ours, but no alternative family-time took its place. And tragically, there was often no second firm hand to reaffirm the first.
Why? Things changed and so did they.
Mom, you know I've never been much into theories the conspirator type that distract us from living. But I feel a pressing call to look around at our world and wonder. "If things are like this today and we as a country stay the course, what will things be like tomorrow?"
We both know what has happened across and down the street. The family as we know it is falling apart. And yet today, governments, at home and abroad, manipulated by short-sighted and self-seeking activists, continue to point the finger at the traditional family as a dangerous plague. In some places, including our neighbors to the north, legislators have commandeered a national redefinition of marriage and have eliminated all references to permanence, progeny, or public benefit. In a strange twist of fate, the very groups who once moaned the government's involvement in what goes on in the bedroom, have successfully convinced politicians to differentiate the marital relationship from all other friendships exclusively by its sexual nature what goes on in the bedroom. With such a depressing take on marriage and family, it's no wonder that the next policy item on the docket is the legalization of assisted-suicide.
Mom, I'm sorry if I've let the pen flow off the edges. I dare say it's partly your fault. Your willingness to adapt to our changing times without ever abandoning who you are and what you believe, has given me courage to want to do the same. I don't do it half as well or elegantly as you do.
But then again, you're a mom.
Mother's Day comes and goes and you don't. You stay, all year long. And as long as you do, and moms do, things are going to be okay.
With much love, your son, Jonathan
Write to Father Jonathan at email@example.com.