Why It's Good to Step Out of Denial Now and Then

Last week’s blog generated a lot of mail and I value and appreciate the feedback and shared stories I received from so many of you. A few men wrote in wondering if Michael had given his permission for me to publish the story and I quickly wrote back to say yes, most definitely. I should have included that fact in the blog. Once I read it to Michael, he said he felt comfortable sharing the experience in the hopes that it would be helpful to others.  It’s one of the many reasons I love him.)Onward to the blog…

Why it’s good to step out of denial now and then.

This week, my mom and her best friend Theresa came to visit for an overnight self-care adventure – something we like to do a few times a year.  We hang out, laugh like kids, enjoy a little pampering, and indulge in some of our favorite foods. This trip, Theresa graced us with a homemade apple pie and I’m still kicking myself for asking her if the crust was store bought before I took my first bite. At eighty-two, “store bought crust” doesn’t exist in her vocabulary. The pie was amazing. My bad.

During our visits I love to hear about what life was like for them as young women.  I’m eager to know where my mother came from and to learn about the experiences that shaped the woman she is today. Over morning tea I listened intently as they talked about preserving food in an icebox before refrigerators were invented, the art of using a ringer washing machine, and the importance of ironing cloth diapers after hanging them out to dry in the cold air. I’m sure some of you remember these things, too. And I bet some of you are wondering what the hell I’m talking about. Here’s a picture of a ringer washing machine from the fifties:

We've come a long way baby... 

These visits back in time make me appreciate the advantages I have today and the women who helped build the foundation upon which my life stands now. 

It's such a gift to spend intimate time with my mom - something I never take for granted. Too many of my friends have lost their parents and some have been estranged from their mothers for years.  We've certainly had our rough times (we laughed about some of them, too), but age brings perspective and respect.  As I make mistakes in my own life, I understand that we all do the best we can with what we know at the time. 

We could all benefit from a little more compassion and understanding... 

We had a wonderful two days together and as mom and Theresa were leaving, I closed the front door and said a silent prayer, asking God to guide them home safely. Tears welled up in my eyes as I thought about an exchange my mom and I had at one point during our visit where we talked about her getting older and the limited time we have together.  

The daughter in me tried to cut her off with "Mom, don't say that, you have plenty of years left" but the adult woman knew better. "Cheryl, we never know how long we have and I want to tell the truth about that," she said to me.  

I understood her truth given my own passing years. 

It's a truth we all try to ignore... 

The truth that life is precious, unpredictable, and finite. 

What I didn't tell my mother is that I think about that truth all the time.  

I think about it as I watch her walk down the front steps heading for the car... 

I think about it when she calls to sing happy birthday with my dad and then sings another version from her cats, meowing at the top of her lungs... 

I think about it with every thank you card I get in the mail that reminds me to carry on her tradition of good manners... 

And I think about it as she tells me the little stories of her life because I know that someday these stories will disappear having slipped through the cracks of time and I'll miss them forever...  

So I schedule visits and stay present to our life together now. 

Because it's all we have. 

Today I bow to my mother

To her courage and strength

To the wisdom she's gleaned from years of making the care of others her biggest priority

And to the accomplishments she still can't see... 

Because she's too busy being a mom...

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I love that a big corporation put money into this beautiful tribute to moms. You can watch it here.



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Author Information

Cheryl Richardson

Cheryl Richardson is the New York Times bestselling author of several books including, Take Time for Your LifeLife MakeoversStand Up for Your LifeThe Unmistakable Touch of GraceThe Art of Extreme Self Care, You Can Create an Exceptional Life with Louise Hay, and her new book, Waking Up in Winter: In Search of What Really Matters at Midlife.

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