Mother’s Day, 2011

After considering this for a while, I have decided that I am going to partake of some shameless self-indulgent sentimentality.

I miss my Mom.

We all went to Lydia’s in Butte last night for dinner in her honor- it was one of her favorite places. Dad, my brother and sister, their spouses and their parents, me and Ken and his mom. We celebrated all the mothers in our families- including the absent ones. And I noticed something last night that I haven’t been able to shake.

I love being around this family.

I loved watching my Dad enjoy his children. I loved watching Ken gently pull the chair out for his mom before she sat. I loved how we all told stories and laughed and listened and ate delicious food- sharing tastes across the table. I loved the subtle teasing, the secret shared smiles, the knowing nods and the conversation that was all over the table. I loved how we drank wine and water and Manhattans and Diet Coke and shamelessly ordered dessert. I loved how we all treated each other like, well, like we loved each other.

Which we do.

And I wanted my Mom there- because she was always such an uncompromisingly real presence at all of our family gatherings. You never had to wonder what she thought, or who she was talking to- or about. She loved nothing more than to sit next to my Dad and tell stories and laugh, remind us of details- or have us remind her, and generally just be with her kids and have a good time. I’m not sure how, but she taught us how to enjoy each other.

I remember watching them watch us last Christmas. They were sitting together on a couch, and we (me, brother, sister and all our respective spouses) were all talking to each other, telling stories and teasing each other a little, laughing and just having a great time. I happened to look up at my parents and I saw my Mom look at my Dad, smile, and put her head on his shoulder. That moment is one of the most precious memories I have. In my mind, I hear that smile and that gesture say “We done good, Dave.”

They sure did.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. We miss you lots.

Care Giving

Sars and me

Bob Linscott of the LGBT Aging Project asked me to write an essay on my caregiving experience with Sars for their monthly newsletter. It was an amazing task for a lot of reasons. Mostly because the gift of time has offered me the ability to look at my life with more objectivity and love- accepting the mistakes as well as the triumphs.

I felt a lot of things as I wrote. Mostly I felt grateful and, well- you’ll see.

Read it here.

Full newsletter is here.

A Church Adrift

Peter Steinfels in a thought-provoking piece for Commonweal speaks about the hemorrhaging Catholic Church, the responsibility of the bishops and the reality of social understanding in the pews. He starts out with this:

“In February 2008, the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life’s U.S. Religious Landscape Survey, based on interviews with a representative sample of thirty-five thousand adult Americans, reported that one out of every three adult Americans who were raised Catholic have left the church. If these ex-Catholics were to form a single church, they would constitute the second largest church in the nation.” (emphasis mine)

Definitely worth a read- and don’t skip the comments! (Thanks Cheryl!)