Friday, November 7, 2014

Mother's Day In November

First off, I have to say that I absolutely loved Carol's latest post at Broads of a Feather, and not just because she referenced two of my favorite things: Zombies and House MD!  Her post tied into my feelings this week about appreciating our parents because we never now how long we're going to have them around.

It all started when Carol shared a sad news story about a mother who ended her own child's life.  The child was autistic, her husband had health problems and she was at the end of her ropes.  She made a terrible choice and will probably never forgive herself.  It caused me to reflect on my own childhood and I was overwhelmed with gratitude that my mother never cracked like this woman did.

Glenn and Rosemary Slater
November 1979
And really, she could have.

I know the stories don't compare.  No two stories ever will.  There will always be differences in background, in upbringing, in personality and temperament.  None of us kids were autistic.  But my mom had five of us to raise while she tended her sick husband.  We weren't always a good help to her.

I have a lot of memories that I won't go into, because they involve more than just myself and it wouldn't be fair to go telling tales.  We weren't any worse or any better than any other kids, I imagine.  We could have been better behaved, but we could have been worse too.  When I spoke to Mom about this earlier this week, I told her to never feel like she was a failure at being a parent even when us kids fight amongst ourselves...because through it all she never cracked and she managed to get us all to adulthood and "normal" enough.

In a lot of ways, she almost had 6 kids.  I forget exactly what year it was, I was either 12 or 13, my father had to have surgery to untangle his bowels from the scar tissue that had formed after his appendectomy about a year and a half before.  I don't even remember which surgery it was, as he had several in a short amount of time, but during one he had a stroke either on the operating table or just before.

It changed all our lives, because he never recovered 100%.  It always seemed to be one complication after another.  I don't know if it was because he was diabetic or that his body was just as cantankerous as he was.  He never forgave the doctor that removed the respirator over a week after that fateful surgery and gave him a tracheotomy - because he never got rid of it.  I remember they tried once, but once again his body produced too much scar tissue and it began closing off his windpipe completely.

He ended up having to go to a hospital in Philadelphia to have laser surgery and have 2 inches of his trachea removed.  If memory serves, he was there for six weeks.  Mom only got to go down and see him once.

He died when I was 18, almost 19.  From complications of a second stroke.

I miss him this time of year, even though he wasn't always easy to get along with and really kind of had a tendency to be abusive especially after his stroke.  No matter what, he was my Dad.  I don't really remember much of the man he used to be before his stroke.  That part is like fading mist.  My favorite memory of him was when I was maybe 4, and hounding him for a peanut butter cake.  Even though I was interrupting the grown ups, he stopped what he was doing and pulled out his recipe books and started searching for a recipe for peanut butter cake.  In the end I think I got a chocolate mayonnaise cake with peanut butter frosting.  I remember how we used to go for rides during the Christmas season just to look at the lights and decorations.

I'm not sure how Mom dealt with her stress.  I know she had friends she talked to, and her sister.  I don't remember her ever getting a break, unless you count the times Dad was in the hospital, but I don't because I know how hard it was for her then too.  Dad expected her to visit him everyday.  I have more than a few memories of us 5 younger kids spending our evenings playing in the hospital parking lot and yard while she was in seeing him.

I know when I called and told her all this, how much I appreciated her not cracking under the pressure, that she was a little taken aback.  I mean, it was all out of the blue for her.  So I explained about the article and how it made me appreciate her more.  I told her how I had thought about tagging her in the Facebook comments, but I decided to call her and tell her instead.  Kind of a Mother's Day sentiment in November.

And that's kind of the point.  Life is short and we need to let people now that we love them and appreciate them, even if we don't agree with the choices they've made with their lives, even if we can't always get along with them.  Because all too soon, someone isn't going to be there anymore and we'll regret all the things we never said.  While I regret how many years lapsed between the last time I saw my oldest brother Glenn and the day of his funeral, I don't regret the last time we did see each other.  It was a family picnic and as we were packing up to leave, we gave each other a hug and said 'I love you'.

So, take a moment of your time and give someone a call and let them know you love them.  Because you never know when there isn't going to be a 'next' time.  Especially your parents.  They might not have been the best, they probably made mistakes and failed you or judged you.  But if you survived to adulthood, relatively sane enough, they didn't completely mess up.

And to all my readers, I appreciate you as well.  Without you, I might as well be sending words into empty space.  I am working hard at proofing my second novel (I might have to increase the font size for the paperback.)

Leaving you with a picture of one of the few times all of us kids were home.  It was for our Dad's 60th birthday, which also happened to be Thanksgiving that year (Mom - correct me if I'm wrong, it's too late to call to check lol)  Mom is of course behind the camera.

November 23, 1989
Glenn Slater and his ten kids :)

2014 ~ No regrets...


  1. thanks. I'll be honest, I spilled some tears writing this!

  2. Fantastic, Robin!! Really hits home. ~hugs~ CPS

  3. Beautifully written Robin.

    1. Just in case this isn't a duplicate from Dee - thank you!

  4. Beautiful Robin. <3 Dee.

    1. Thanks Dee :) It's always nice to know who's reading my posts!

  5. I shed tears too Robin. I dealt with my stress by talking with my Heavenly Father. I spent many a night talking with him after I had went to bed. I also talked with my best friend Donna Carmen, of course I listen to her problems too. Aunt Norma was a lot of help spiritual and medical. I love all my children as they are a gifts from God. I love my stepchildren as they are an extension of their father,who I love dearly and miss him. It doesn't seem it has been close to 20 years since God called him home so he would not suffer any more.

    1. Glad I was able to help you get your comment through Mom... <3