Mother’s Day got me thinking about the mother I had, as opposed to the mother I wished I had. It got me thinking about both my parents, and a childhood I often wished I could re-write or revise like a story.
From my childhood in Jerusalem I remember Sabbath/Saturday mornings at my secular parents’ home as the day they slept late. When my mother got up she made “French toast,” back then a real oddity in Israel. Then my parents would put an opera on the turn-table, sit with the libretto, and with only a small break for lunch, get through all four or five LPs.
I sometimes followed the story and music with them. My father would act it out and make it more vivid. Other times I would stare out the window, and see other families going to and returning from synagogue.
Since I didn’t go to synagogue until I was much older, (and snuck by myself) those early images of families going to and returning from were a source of longing for the “normal” family I didn’t have. What happened in synagogue was shrouded in mystery for me.
Years later my best friend, whose parents did go to synagogue, told me that she envied me my intellectual and unconventional parents.
I think the longing “for something” is universal, and so it manifests as wishing for what you don’t have.
The grass may be another color, not just greener. Any color but your own.
This Mothers' day I awoke to a new resolve to appreciate, if only for moments a day, the grass just as it grows where I am.