This mother couldn’t resist sending her offspring a Charlie Brown Mother’s Day card discovered while waiting in line at the post office. How really jolly it was, rosy in color with the Peanuts gang’s exuberantly stating: “It’s Mother’s Day…” and inside is Snoopy tapping both feet while playing an accordion as he belts out the words, “Celebrate ACCORDIONLY!”
Ah, and here’s to more old-timey accordion playing (how we miss accordion player, community activist and great friend, John Barto), not to mention “celebrating accordionly.” Charlie Brown’s lessons are wistfully, humorously, and not too “reprovingly” offered - rather like Irving Lepselter’s Cityscape cartoons.
But, most important, of course, were this mother’s words written inside the Mothers Day card – saying that being your mother was the best thing that could have happened to her – and more than anything, she wanted to help. ”Share your problems, don’t keep them to yourself!”
And let’s all remember if the human nest is often too empty after family holidays, and in general, blame it on the flawed social dictates that parents of adults and multigenerational, extended families don’t matter that much. Ah, but thanks to the 1970’s and early 80s women’s movement, some of us challenged this and other “rules” which seem so unnatural and hurtful to our own experience.
O-o-o-ps! Maybe that’s too heavy for a holiday, but it needs to get out there when offspring never get mentioned in the highly touted Jane Brody April 26 New York Times Science/Health section piece “ Thriving at 70 and Beyond.” A secondary small title adds, “How society can help ease the way for the growing number of older women.” Incidentally, Brody’s series are inspired by the book, “70 Candles! Women Thriving in Their 8th Decade” and as she approaches age 75.
Maybe the follow-up “adjustments on aging” piece airing close to Mother’s Day will mention this noted health guru’s twin sons, and that these so primary parent/offspring relationships should remain primary, for not only mothers, but for the entire village to thrive.
Indeed, close relationships were only noted at the article’s end quoted from the “70 Candles “ book. “Also, important as women age, are social connections, especially with other women. Whether married, single, widowed or divorced, participants reported that their women friends were their greatest source of support and comfort. ” Okay, but surely when they exist, males and especially offspring are also basic sources of support and comfort. So much depends upon a study’s recipients. These were near or in their early 70’s. My next column hopes to recall columnist Marcia Epstein’s most moving December 10-16 Our Town column “When the Children Drift Away.” It’s about therapy groups for parents of adults whose adult children have so heartbreakingly moved out of their lives.
Also related, is an all-important same Times Science Health section issue piece called “Loneliness and the Imperiled Heart.” Unfortunately, it was a very inconspicuous item about a growing major health risk for every age group. Ah, but a most comprehensive loneliness study was done in the 1977 book, “The Broken Heart, the Medical Consequences of Loneliness” by Dr.James Lynch. All manner of socially destructive consequences were shown to result from loneliness, but attention has yet to be paid.
And the Brody article says both men and women must “think positively about aging.” You will live longer etcetera. Yes, but protesting a society which views you ever more negatively as you age, is pretty aging. But as the Peanuts Gang might emphatically inform “the Brody gang: “Listen, you blockheads, overcoming ageism and age apartheid will make you really thrive at 70 and beyond - way beyond!”
But celebrating Mother’s day positively is surely in order, even when offspring are not “vitally connected.” But that condition needs to be shared – and, yes, overcome.
And here’s to lovingly, gratefully, remembering your mother and mine whom I had for such a very short time.