Remember, we are connected to our mothers beyond the here and now -- forever

JANET'S WORLD

May 13, 2007|By JANET GILBERT

Recently, my daughter showed me a music video she created as a school project in Advanced Composition class. The assignment was to express something that was poetry in an entirely different medium. Because she finds the lyrics of John Mayer's songs to be poetic, she selected his song "Dreaming with a Broken Heart."

When you hear the song, your first thought, naturally, is that it is about a relationship break-up. Here's just another guy, singing about just another girl who left him. There is a plaintive refrain that goes: `Cause she's gone, gone, gone, gone, gone.

But I guess my daughter didn't hear it that way. In her music video, I am featured as -- well, there's just no sugar-coating this -- "the deceased." It's pretty clear in the first few frames; you can view it on www.janetgilbert online.com.

This is certainly turning out to be quite the Mother's Day column.

I'm sure you can understand that there would be something a little disconcerting about seeing yourself as "the deceased" in a video. One minute I'm dancing in the kitchen; the next my name's etched in granite on a headstone.

But the thing is, once I was able to stop crying, I was honored. Thrilled, even. Because what the music video says to me is that we are connected beyond the here and now. It's something I like to believe, and now I have evidence that my daughter believes it, too.

Mothers are forever.

They are in the casseroles we bake -- the ones we didn't like as kids but now serve to our children.

They are in the department store dressing room with us, saying, alternatively: "Take that off, don't even bother!" and "Buy it -- it's stunning!"

They are in the perfume we select, the stores we frequent, and the way we clean or don't clean our homes.

They are in the napkin we remember to unfold first at the restaurant, and any chewing that occurs with our mouths closed.

They are in the words of encouragement -- or criticism -- that are right on the mark. Who's going to tell you the truth, if not your own mother?

They are in the kind of friends and the kind of work we choose.

They are sweetly held in the daily embraces of our own children.

The fact is, mothers have significant power to facilitate or exterminate our dreams.

As a result, some of us try to live up to our mothers' examples; others work just as hard not to model her in any way, shape or form. But in either case, there is no doubt that mom's influence is there, imprinted on our lives in ways that are obvious if we take just a moment to reflect.

That time might be today for you; for me it was last week, watching the music video. It caused me to look at my role in my daughter's dream; and my mother's role in mine.

My mother would always stop what she was doing -- and as a parent of five, she was always doing something -- to listen to every school essay or poem I wrote. When I was in high school, she would ask my opinion on the articles she wrote for the PTA newsletter. These days, I help compose the occasional birthday verse, and around November every year, mom calls and says she knows I am so busy and hopes it is "not too much" to ask me to help write her annual family Christmas card.

It is not too much. I have a huge debt of gratitude to repay, for all those years she stopped what she was doing to pay attention to my writing.

So if your mother is with you this Mother's Day, let her know that her influence has shaped your path. And if your mother is no longer with you, remember that she is with you, always.

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