Saturday, May 10, 2014

Flashback- Mother's Day another time...

                                     Shouting Isn’t Necessary

          “One generation plants the trees; another gets the shade.”
                                         -Chinese proverb

                                           By Glen Creason

It’s been a while since my Mom has been able to hear the normal sounds we take for granted. Sometimes that is good as in the bass thumping “music” that thunders from kid’s autos. Sometimes it is sad as in the subtle softness of rain on our roofs. After eighty-five years of screaming kids, blaring televisions, loud car radios and several million phone conversations with friends and family the hardware of her hearing apparatus just gave out. Like always, she doesn’t complain or blame others for this affliction but it can be alienating. People with all their physical senses tend to become easily frustrated with those who don’t and often the hard of hearing get shut out of the fun. Speaking at a higher volume really doesn’t work but nine out of ten folks believe they can overcome hearing loss by screaming to no avail. Since my Mom has always been at the heart of every family affair for the past century this makes our gatherings centralized and very loud.
     Still, some things don’t need to be said and just a look can communicate a chapter. Each year brings me increased appreciation and understanding of just how treacherous the twists and turns of parenting paths can get. How could she make it all look so easy? How could she go years without giving up and erupting like a volcano at our tomfoolery? How did she ever make it to this place where she is beloved by several generations of family members? I want to know. I want to be like that.

      She can tell fascinating stories, put history in perspective, add color to family lore and plop all of us in our place with just an upturned eyebrow. She has seen more, done more and witnessed more changes than we can imagine. At eighty-five she continues to be the omnipotent force who doesn’t miss a trick with or without the hearing that once could identify you opening the cupboard where her hidden chocolate chip cookies lay from the other side of the house. Yet father time takes his toll on all of us. While hearing aids bring pieces, bits, small parcels of the world of sound she once knew we can no longer assume that she is part of a conversation. We must face her and speak to her, not mumble, as is our custom and continue to the end of our speaking. As my generation stumbles forward we experience first-hand just how difficult it is to hear in crowded restaurants, acoustically brittle rooms and moving cars.  Then again, most of the affection we express isn’t dependent on the senses and as the ears fail we turn to actions to express our devotion.  If our shouts don’t reach then we have our presence, our physical support, hugs, kisses, family photographs, e-mails and even those old fashioned customs of yesteryear: the written card and letter. My Mother has planted the trees and we have enjoyed the shade she created with her patience, gentility and wisdom. Now we must speak to her in ways that leap over her ears and into her heart. It just takes the words “I Love You Mom, “ written somewhere, read sometime, preferably on Mothers Day.


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