Friday, August 20, 2004

Word to My Mothers: A Tribute (Epilogue)

They say that “clothes make the man,” but dude…
my MOMs made the clothes!

We human beings are a complex lot, are we not? Our biology is a wonder of complex processes, made even more so sometimes by our lack of understanding of how and why they work.

Likewise, our personalities, which inject what we call “life” into these biological processes, are often hard to understand. If someone behaves unpredictably, differing from the standard norms, we often say they’re complex. Well guess what boys and girls? We’re all complex.

People behave and react to the things presented by their existence in different ways, and not all of those ways make sense on first blush. To the observer, it can be confusing, but that’s what makes life — and people — interesting.

Now pardon me while I wax all allegorical and whatnot.

I look at people as beautiful, complex garments, woven together with strands of richly colored and uniquely different materials. These materials are the experiences, people, environment and spirit of all that surrounds us as we go through life. In the beginning, the garment is chiefly being fashioned by our parents. In most cases, they supply the pattern and begin the process of constructing the most wonderful creation they can imagine. However they aren’t all equally skilled, and sometimes they don’t really put forth their best efforts, although those instances are far more rare than we would like to think. However, flaws do occur. Some are more pronounced, others are well hidden, yet they inevitably exist in every garment made — it’s just part of the nature of things; no garment is perfect.

The flaws are caused by different things, and are not always the fault of the one is performing the construction. There are times in which a seamster has only substandard materials at their disposal. And while it's possible that they may be aware of this and simply don't care, it's just as possible that they're only doing the best they can with what they have to work with.

After a time, we take over from our parents and continue working on the garment ourselves. We too are often guilty of taking shortcuts, not seeking out the best materials, or straying from the sound pattern that was our garment’s basis from the beginning. On the other hand, we may be able to identify flaws and mend or strengthen them to the point that they have no longer detract from our garment’s quality. However sometimes there is little that can be done. But in the end, I believe it is our own responsibility to make the best what we have been given. Our garment can be beautiful, and often already is, regardless of whether or not we appreciate that beauty.

My two Moms worked together, albeit indirectly, to weave a wonderful life for me. My Dad designed the pattern, but Annie and Maxine made it beautiful. I am so thankful for the tribulations as well as the triumphs, because I know who I am — and I also can imagine who I might have been if I had allowed the flaws to dominate and ruin the fabric.

I consider myself incredibly lucky. Most people are fortunate to have a truly great Mom.

I had two.

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