I got into my car after a yet another stress filled, teeth gritting, hole in the tongue producing, caretaking visit with my 90 something year old mother. Oh she could take care of herself but it was so nice that I came over to help.
I turned on the radio and one of Dr. Laura's listeners could not understand why their in-need parent was not more grateful, kind, for their hard work and attention. I felt like I was listening to a sister traveler on the radio that afternoon. The conversation turned to the caller's childhood and it sounded an awful lot like mine: a distracted mother who had little or no attention for their needy child. I came after what she thought was her last child and just before the divorce she never dreamed would take place. The upshot was the caller was trying to get her mother to be the attentive, affirming and life-giving mother that she needed as a child. The caller, although doing the right thing in honoring the needs of her parents lacked getting her heart's long deferred nourishment from her Mom.
I took a breath and smiled. This was me. At fifty plus, I wanted my Mom to be the attentive, life affirming Mom who she never was when I was a child. When I did not get the attention I craved, I heard her version of a story from our shared history. (My favorite continues to be the traumatic events before, during, and after my birth.)
Since that call I try to take care of my mother because it's the right thing to do. And I try to honor my mother because she's my mom and love her as my neighbor because that's all that God requires of me, nothing more but nothing less.