Saturday, June 18, 2011

Honoring my mother on Father’s Day

It started a few days ago when I saw a picture of my grandfather. My mom and my aunt each used different photos of my grandfather as profile pictures on Facebook. After all, it was the week leading up to Father’s Day, and they loved him dearly. 

One by one friends changed their profile pics, honoring their fathers, making an unspoken declaration: “My father was a good man.”

You see, if he was a bad man, you wouldn’t give up the coveted “profile pic” spot. Let’s face it; that piece of real estate is a big deal on Facebook.

As I notice each alert (“So and so has changed their profile picture”), it brings back a familiar feeling from when I was a little girl, the feeling of being left out.

In grade school, while my friends bragged about their dad near the monkey bars, I stood nearby in silence. An overwhelming nervousness would overcome my entire body, almost to a near panic. And in my silence, a herd of thoughts would run through my head, my eyes darting from side to side.

“I wonder if they know what my dad is really like.”

“Maybe their dad is like that and they’re just making stuff up.”

“Maybe I should make up stuff, too!” 

“Are they getting suspicious? Should I just say something, anything?” 

But I never partook in the dad bragging ritual on the playground. And I can’t partake in it on the social media playground either.

“My father was a good bad man.”

Thank God for my mother. She was more of a man than my father ever was. And I mean that in the most complimentary way. If my mom is reading this now, which she is, (Hi, Mom!) she’ll read this with the most understanding heart because she gets me.  

Despite my father’s sins, I turned out OK. I have my mom to thank for that. She was my mother and my father. She was the disciplinary, the consoler and the provider. (This piece of history repeats itself in my own failed marriage, but more on that later.)

I’ve come to realize that my mom was literally the only adult in the house. When she says she was raising three children, I get it. She was raising me, my brother and my father.

When I told her that my marriage had unraveled, that I had done everything I could to save it and that I was moving out with the kids because he refused to leave, I told that I needed two things from her:
1.       I needed her to accept my decision.
2.       I needed her to not ask questions. I was too fragile. 

She then did the most beautiful thing. Without judgment, she said, “Tell me what I can do to help you.”

From that moment on, she’s been there for me in every sense of the word “there.” As in “there” to pick up my kid from school when my ex said he would then didn’t and “there” to pass me the tissue box, hold me and tell me that everything’s going to be OK. 

So in honor of my mother, I’ve dedicated my profile pic on my (private) Facebook page with a photo of a beautiful young woman in her 20s, wearing a peach-colored, polyester a-line dress, holding hands with her then 4-year-old daughter.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you mom and Happy Father’s Day.

Te quiero mucho, mami

10 comments:

  1. Beautifully written. My heart aches for the younger you & the pain you felt towards your father. Your mom sounds amazing, supportive & very deserving of your special honor this day.
    Happy Father's Day to your mom!!
    - XXOO Dishy

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  2. Awesome story. Thanks - I didn't put a profile pic of my dad up on FB either.

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  3. Beautiful portrait of a wonderful woman. Tell your mom Happy Father's Day from me! :)

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  4. My goodness, I heart this post so bad.

    I was never a daddy-bragger either. I hated him as a child, teen and even into my 20's & 30's. Sadly, it wasn't until he was dying that I finally FINALLY understood so much.

    Happy Day to your mom.

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  5. Beautiful post. As I often think with my stepsons, who have a loving dad and a controlling mom, it only takes one good parent. One good one is enough, and for me as well, that was my mom. I guess I can say that my dad did his best, though his best was often notsomuch. He died last Fall, and this first Father's Day without him feels a little strange. I spent the day celebrating my husband - who is an amazing dad to his sons. And I know they will brag about him, and they will mean it.

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  6. This was beautifully written and a wonderful tribute to your mom. I did have a wonderful dad, but unfortunately, my first husband was a horrible father to my first 3 children. I worked so hard to make up for his shortcomings! I bet your mom is so proud of you, just as you are proud of her! I found you via twitter and I'm happy to be following your blog! You can find me at
    http://mynuggetsoftruth.blogspot.com/

    @ErinPatrick

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  7. Sorry for not writing sooner, but it's been a busy few weeks. Thank you so much for your comments! We had a great Father's Day with my mom.

    Erin: Sounds like you stepped up to the plate for your kids and that's awesome! So glad we've connected. Thanks for reading!

    XOXO :)

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  8. Beautiful post. Your mom sounds lovely. You must take after her :)

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  9. What a beautiful tribute to an amazing mother.

    How blessed you were to have one super-fantastic parent. And to know that you recognize that is probably one of the greatest gifts you could give her.

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