Mother's Day 2012
Sean Walsh's column "Musings from the Mills" appears here on Patch.com weekly and occasionally he writes for the Babylon, New York Patch.com.
I still remember the days when absolutely no one wore a seatbelt and we would jump around the car constantly as mom drove all around town, to the store or to school or to wherever.
I would have lost my mind entirely if not for car seats for our kids. I cannot believe my mother kept her sanity.
Not least of when I decided at about age four to slowly but surely open the car door as she sped down the highway. Yes, the highway. No seatbelt, the pavement blurring by my eyes like lightning in a flash of memory and that tiny little foot reaching out to see what it would be like to jump and run from a moving car at 65 miles per hour and in that same lightning flash moment more than 40 years ago, her ever-present hand reaching over and grabbing hold of me and whipping me back into the front seat, her face paled in horror.
I can still remember being 12-years-old and so incredibly mad at some decision my mother had handed down – not in my favor – and responding in typical 12-year-old fashion that the time had finally arrived when I was going to “run away.” I remember quickly packing the true necessities and most valuable commodities of any 12-year-old boy: my baseball mitt, a ball and Little League hat. I remember getting on my not so well-tuned, battered bicycle and speeding off, I imagined, into the great unknown and devising some wooded hiding spot where to sleep on my way to nowhere in particular and then about four miles into the trip realizing I had never quite ridden my bike that far in the direction I was headed and was not fully certain of what that part of town was like or where its roads led to and then sheepishly walking back in the kitchen and up to my room and later being thankful that she opted not to tell my father about it all.
Or when at the age of nine I completely singed the eyebrows off my face by attempting to construct a homemade cannon that would sufficiently fire tennis balls across the yard only to come to the sudden and immediate realization, quite painfully, that gasoline from the lawn mower can would only ignite immediately and not simmer like some cartoon-like fuse and my mom only shaking her head in the bathroom, inspecting me for further damage.
Or there was that time she asked a friend if he’d consider hiring her 14-year-old son to work construction for the summer and he agreed to give it a whirl, and it turned into more summers of hard, but rewarding and lucrative work and into work all throughout college.
Or the time she gave me a dollar to buy comic books when you could still buy seven or eight of them for a dollar and tack on about five packs of baseball cards and maybe a candy bar for some long trip we were taking and I felt like I had just won the lottery of all lotteries and the drugstore with its rack of 1,000 comic books became like an oasis of sweet joy I never wanted to leave. I thought I had the greatest mom who had ever lived and I remember looking around the store to see if anyone noticed this incredible one dollar I held in my hand.
Or the time she was insanely furious – not because I had just ripped the skin from my entire kneecap wide open and could barely crawl through the back door and blood was pouring down my shin – but because I had just so foolishly wiped out on some other kid’s bike and destroyed my new “school pants” beyond repair. Never mind the knee. Stop your crying. It's not that bad. I think I had a scab the size of a softball covering that knee for the next six months.
Or maybe it was any of the the 1,000 times I devised some harebrained boyhood or teenage scheme that resulted in any number of horrifying injuries or bloodshed or black eyes or bruised and broken bones or any of 1,000 boyhood battles or tribulations - averted or not - that I would divulge at the dinner table each night that she simply just forgave me for.
And for all of it, I am truly grateful that my mom was, and still is, always there.