Happy Mother’s Day, 2021
I hope everyone was able to enjoy, or at least survive, Mother’s Day. My wife was reading me the postings on some social media sites in which adult children lavish exuberant praise upon their long-standing sources of unconditional love. Her children don’t do those things on social media. I also know from having spent years in my profession, that many of you have differnt feelings and memories about your mothers, the kind that are not often written on the thousands of professional greeting cards that were made for this day. Everything is complex.
Today was a BIG day at our house, a day that comes around very six or seven years. It was not only Mother’s Day, it was my wife’s birthday. Since it was a day of multiple importances I prevailed upon my children, who are in their forties, to bring their spouses and their children to honor the matriarch of the family. This, you might think, was an easy request since we are fortunate enough to live within fifteen driving minutes of each of our kids. However, we are living in the semi-post COVID spring in the opened-up Boston suburbs.
That means that every child between five and eighteen is expected to be catching up on all of the exercise, team play, sportsmanship and character building that comes with organized sports. My four grandchildren are all on the younger side. One is playing the amazing game of T-ball, which involves a lot of 5 and 6 year-olds standing and staring at adults who are yelling and pointing at a base or a ball, expecting those kids to know what to do. They don’t.
But, between games, practices, carpools, snacks, and ice-cream there is very little free time for a suburban family on any weekend between mid-April and mid-June. It’s not California up here. The season is short and not very sweet, even for Mother’s Day. But we did find a time when everyone could gather together: the hours of 9 to 11 this morning. We put the candles on the donuts. The girls made videos of the cartwheels, backbends, and walk-overs they were doing on the lawn. The boys threw balls they couldn’t catch and ran up and down the big hill on the side of our house.
Their parents, who are all employed in tech, bio-tech or design, industries that flourished during the pandemic, told us some of the amazing things that they were trying to accomplish at work, and then among themselves they discussed some of their plans of how they might spend some of the amazing amounts of money they were making from doing these amazing things.
I realize that there is a great socio-economic divide in the US. A large percent of the middle class is rapidly being shoved down a notch or two, while a much smaller percentage is joining the upper reaches, attaining the kinds of income that President Biden wants to have pay more in taxes. The is mostly the same group that benefitted from the Republican’s last two big tax cuts. Thankfully, my kids are very willing to pay their fair share of taxes, at least while Biden is president. Also, they have found work that they enjoy, and that really helps everyone, while doing what they can to ensure that the processes of what they do exploits, or excludes very few.
All of that made Mother’s Day a fun time. The kids ran around, the adults hung around. Everyone made the effort to show their appreciation and affection. They even left two of the kids here while they schlepped the other two off to their games.
This would have been the perfect American Dream Mother’s Day if I had more confidence that the country and the world I will be leaving to my grandchildren will be a place in which they will be able to live more comfortably than I do now. As individuals, they will be fine. They are all smart, beautiful, caring and talented. So far, they all seem to have absorbed the values that our family has lived with for a few generations, which is basically to enjoy life, enjoy each other, have fun, find real satisfaction by doing good work, work that improves the world, care about what happens, and have more fun.
My grandchildren have every advantage that our world offers, and they are beginning to realize that not everyone is nearly as fortunate. They do well in school, and they go to the best public schools in the country. They have friends, they eat well, they have all the electronic and sports equipment they can use or want. As far as I can tell, being so totally biased, they have a lot of confidence and charm, but are not spoiled or mean. I pay attention to that.
Yet, I worry. There is a great deal of tension, division and misunderstanding in our country right now. We are living in a precarious and unstable time. It seems that over the next two to four years, things will either get much better or much worse for the majorly of American citizens. Right now, there are people who are desperately doing all they can to establish a culture in which the best way to survive will be to be angry, selfish and aggressive. I don’t want my grandchildren to grow up in such a culture. History has shown that any society that turns on itself like that will implode and everyone will suffer. Even gorillas get very upset when they feel that they are being treated unfairly.
I am doing my best to influence their future. Will do all I can to drive out the forces of evil: May the 9th be with us, always.