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J.K. Simmons accepts the Best Supporting Actor statue at the Academy Awards on Sunday in Los Angeles. In his speech, he told the audience to call mom and dad.

“Call your mom. Call your dad.”

That simple call to action from J.K. Simmons went viral during Sunday’s Oscar telecast.

“Call your mom, everybody,” said Simmons on the air. “I’m told there’s like a billion people or so (watching). Call your mom. Call your dad, if you are lucky enough to have a parent or two alive on this planet. Don’t text. Don’t e-mail. Call ’em on the phone. Tell them you love them, and thank them, and listen to them for as long as they want to talk to you.”

Tapping his hand over his heart, he concluded, “Thank you, Mom and Dad.”

Incredibly, some people actually chose to negatively and sarcastically respond to his heartfelt speech. Even in the beauty of JK Simmons’ empathic and genuine life lesson learned, some chose to dismantle it into some 20 seconds of reflected fame and 140 characters of cynical disdain.  

 

jk simmons call your mother

Today, we can be blocked, disconnected, deleted and dismissed.  It is easy to be callous and careless, when you have one or two parents still alive.  For all the emancipation and estrangement, a parent welcomes (except for unusual circumstances) an adult child’s attempt at communication and reconciliation.

You are blessed to be someone’s child.

Losing a parent hurts, even when you are older in years, because your heart never forgets.  The person who used to tell you that he or she is proud of you is gone. The source of your personal history, and witness to it, is no longer there to be your cheerleader or sounding board.

Having experienced three losses so close together, I understand that feeling of grief and mourning.  We continue to talk to our loved ones, but  we cannot hear their replies.

Grief_elise thomlinson

Simmons told the Detroit Free Press that his Oscar comments were spontaneous and reflect what he’s learned since losing his father, who died in 2012, and his mother, who passed away in 2014.

“That sort of just fell out of my mouth, and it’s because I am a parent, because I loved my parents deeply and they were such wonderful parents and role models and we lost both of them in the last couple of years,” he said by phone. “I think it’s one of those things you can’t know until you know, like having a baby. You can’t know what it’s like until it happens. I had a wonderful relationship with my parents, but you can’t know what it feels like to be an orphan. Even if you’re an orphan when you’re 59 years old, you’re still an orphan. And it’s hard, so I want people to appreciate what they have.”

Make the most of the gifts that you have been given and recognize that it is, indeed, a gift.

Let those whom you love know just how much they matter ~ and come to appreciate the value and wisdom they carry.

Thank you JK Simmons for your life-affirming message, and your empathy, to turn your singular moment into one others could share and learn from.

 
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I wrote this post earlier this morning. After publishing, I peeked at the Daily Post prompt for today:
Ever have an experience that felt surreal, as though you’d been suddenly transported into the twilight zone, where time seemed to warp, perhaps slowing down or speeding up? I gave it some real thought and think that Motherhood qualifies as surreal ~~~ you will do things that you never could have imagined doing, like removing snot from their nose or licking your finger to wipe jam off of their face ~ you will have periods of Deja Vu and pray for Time Warps and time travel machines ~ you will realize that going through labor, and adolescence, and doing it again means that we really have received the milk of amnesia in the hospital. You will see yourself in situations that are truly out of time, space and continuum. You will stand at a wedding and see your child as a little girl with blond curls. Your son will graduate and you will travel in time to the first day of Kindergarten, all in the space of a moment.

Motherhood is the longest running series of the Twilight Zone!

Crying-Babies-mime

You will wear yourself out worrying about your children.

You will stay up nights with newborns, croupy children in fully steamed bathrooms, 4 a.m. calls to get to the ice rink or gym, Will struggle to think of new and creative ways to feed your children and feed them dinner every day. You will buy the clothes and the shoes and the bows and the tie and the socks that match their favorite team’s colors or the colors of their birthday balloons. They will tell you that they no longer like that color, or team, generally at the party that you have worked long and hard to create.

Your children will not remember any of those things.

They will remember the time that you were at your worst and said or did something humiliating. They will not remember the numerous apologies. They will remember it and tell it to their significant other, friend, colleague, and therapist for at least 25 years or more and repeat it over and over until it grows in strength and horror. They will only remember a small part of the situation magnified many times.

You will go to four different stores to find the toy that they love for the Holidays and then empty handed, will secretly buy it on Ebay. You will not want your child to know that you went without something else so that they she would not be disappointed. You will want to be the person to make their magical dreams come true and worked many extra hours to see the sparkle in their eyes and the grateful smile that made it all seem worthwhile.

You will go to great lengths to settle for something so simple as their smile more times than they will ever know.

You will love your children more than they will ever love you. You will try to give them roots and wings and tell them to call you anytime, day or night. They will not call when you think that they will but you will settle all of your anxiety, anger, guilt and fear just to hear them say “Hi Mom.”

You will show off their photos and run out of places to hang their artwork.

You will carry scars that they will never see from giving birth, adopting, raising, and being the recipient of their anger and disappointment thousands of times over.

You will jump through hoops, stay up late, drive thousands of miles and hear that you never did anything for them. And, besides, they never asked to be born anyway.

Your heart will break when that vision of who your child will be crashes to the ground and splinters. Your heart will break when you have to seek professional help for that child or when someone says that it is time to let go.

You will defend the child’s behavior to your spouse, in-laws, teacher, medical professional and law enforcement. But you will pierce your own heart wondering what you did wrong to make him or her turn out this way.

Everything bad that the child does will be blamed on you and their lack of a proper upbringing or careful mothering.

You will never stop having to give money to your child. Period.

You will wonder how it took them two years to develop a vocabulary, and yet, they won’t let you get a word in edgewise.

You will fight for them with principals, teachers, doctors, other family members, and your significant other.

You will give them your last shred of energy even if they are dancing on your last nerve.

You will try to get through their adolescence, realizing that you have failed miserably to learn anything useful to use with your other children. You will realize that none of them behaved the same through those stress-filled teenage years and you will still be shocked and hurt to hear what they each have to say to you.

You will wonder why it hurts each time anew to be the least important person in their daily lives and how much time they want to spend as far away as possible. You will wonder why you have chest pains and stress headaches when they say that they do not want to talk to you, see you, or hear from you.

You will hear things like:
“I hate you”
“You never loved me”
“You were a terrible mother”
“Steven’s mother has food on the table waiting for him when he gets home”
“Sara’s mother lets her go to the Mall alone”
“This is disgusting and I will not eat it.”
“Why can’t you love me unconditionally?”
“Jessica’s Mom lets her……”

You will learn that you have no privacy whatsoever. Not even in the bathroom.

You will come to appreciate that newborns stay where you put them down and cannot say “No.”

You will question your sanity, your finances, your sense of values, your desires, work hours, choice of toys, organic produce, abilities to love and nurture another, the fear that comes with hearing about horrible things happening to children and pray that you never have to make those choices.

You will not know why it seemed so much easier for someone else to raise their children, if a tutor or a second language would have helped them to succeed, or if changing doctors would have affected the outcome.

You will cry more than you laugh and panic more than you sleep.

You will never stop apologizing and wonder why it is always your fault when they do not become accountable. Or accepting.

You will be amazed that you have done so many things over so many years and the time, money, heart, and strength it all took.

You will wonder why children will turn their back on you and seek solace and comfort from some other woman or man who “knows how to be a real parent.”

You will wonder what your life would have been like if you had never done this or had more than one child.

You will wonder if any other mother is going through these things.

You will realize that despite all the drudgery, hard work, sleepless nights, lack of money, hurtful words and withering embarrassment, you would have done it again.

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If you are a Mom, have a Mom, want to be a Mom, or know someone who fits into one of these categories, please share.
Don’t Worry. They won’t be mad. IT’S ALL MY FAULT, ANYHOW.

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http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/02/28/daily-prompt-twilight-zone/

freshly-pressed-circle

sesame street swedish chef

I love you, a bushel and a peck!
A bushel and a peck, and a hug around the neck!
A hug around the neck, and a barrel and a heap

The ingredients of a life fill in the dash between birth and death. My mother used them lavishly, colorfully and with abandon.

My mother, undaunted by her own strict and occasionally domineering mother, was unfazed at times when she sought independence. As a teenager living in New York, my mother dreamed of cozy cottages and country climes. She had seen a wooden rocking chair and wanted to purchase it for her room. My grandmother felt it was unnecessary and impractical in their modest-sized apartment. My mother was told that she could not get it. Those are fighting words for my mother. She purchased that chair and brought it home, remarkably, on the New York subway system. Through many incarnations, and paint colors, that rocking chair has traveled through several moves across the country and today sits in her home office.

My mother did things on her own timetable and didn’t let the seemingly impossible stop her. Where I am punctual, my mother found the concept of time to be more fluid. If we were supposed to be somewhere in five minutes, that was enough time for her to put on nail polish before we headed into the car.

When I was a teenager, my family moved to New Orleans for a number of years. Mom and Dad had to acclimate to the weather, so hot and humid compared to our New England winters, and become accustomed to a brand new way of life. Both of my parents worked and had to figure out how to maneuver in their new environment while trying to find their way around the city. In the days before Mapquest, and the difficulty in driving in the city while holding a large paper map, it was necessary to remember the minimum number of routes to arrive at your destination. On one shopping excursion, my mother had missed her turn and did not know another way to get back to the Mall. As I was a teenager, fresh from driving lessons and my license still warm, I told my mother that the sign said “No Left Turns.” My mother’s steely reply: “Wanna Bet?”

How could I turn out any other way than strong, determined, caring, and possessing a wit and absurd sense of humor? Even in the horrors of losing my mother to ALS, our quirky brand of love and humor prevailed. My mother told me that the doctor said to her that it is very important for people with ALS to breathe. I looked at her, and said, “Mom, tell the doctor it is important for all patients to breathe.” It took a moment and then, through our shared fear and heartbreak, my mother threw her head back and laughed. I miss that so much.

My mother gifted me bits, pieces and pinches of love, chutzpah, humor, deep intention, perfectionism, creativity, strength, determination, independence and the directive to think about others first. I am held together with the glue of family. We are responsible for each other and are made up of basic truths and a profound sense of belonging. We love all of the members of our family tree because they are “ours.” Mom loved us a bushel and a peck. She sang that song to each of her 15 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren. When in doubt, buy balloons or flowers. Even a cup of coffee tastes better when someone else makes it and gives it to you. Two cookies – one in each hand is a balanced meal. The most important lesson in life is to be a mensch. Recipes handed down always have notes in the margins.

Stirred up as I am about injustice, I can be whipped into a froth of self-righteousness and a fight for the underdog. I can stew for a long time, but would prefer to be light hearted. Blending all these parts together and layers of empathy and kindness makes a dessert so precious that it only comes once a lifetime. For now, my mother is an Angel Cake but she gave me the sweetest parts of my nature and the nuttiest parts of my brain. It all begins and ends with great laughter and one slice of life is never enough. The recipe is handed down from generation to generation and now it is my turn to create the sweetness and keep the crust from getting too hard. Have you been served?

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Weekly word challenge – a pinch of me to share with you
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balloons in the sky
The Great Balloon Ceremony is what my father dubbed our Mother’s Day 2013 celebration. My mother passed away two weeks ago, before the month of May even began. With heavy hearts, my father told us that we would celebrate my mother with joy ~ as well as balloons and ice cream cake ~ in this world and the next. That is how Mom celebrated every other family brunch in the past and this year would be no exception.

Eighteen members from four generations joined at my parents’ home on Sunday morning. My brother and daughter were Skyped in from New York and Chicago, respectively. Each time we needed to change the scenery, I would hand my Kindle to my nieces and nephews to chat with their cousin electronically. My brother was passed around the room, by iPhone, from one hand to another. His daughters took turns saying hello as well and each got a bird’s eye view of the party room.

The sun was shining with a crisp breeze in the air. Eighteen shiny Mylar balloons, multicolored heart-shapes and ribbons, floated gently in the corner, glinting in the sunlight through the picture window. Finally, it was time to begin the gift to our mother, grandmother and great grandmother as if she were here. She could see us so much more clearly than we could see her, but the level of love was not lessened. We raised our faces and our hearts to the sky as we each took hold of a long colored ribbon. After a bit of singing, rising voices saying Happy Mother’s Day, and silent prayers of love and tearful messages of the heart, it was time to let each of them go. A rainbow of love gliding high.

They rose afloat, up and over, skyward, over treetops and houses, up into the great clear blue sky with only wisps of clouds to keep them company. We each shielded our eyes, looked up into the sun, and wished our respective balloons to go higher and bring our messages and rays of love further than the next. All for Mom, always, on Mother’s Day.

Yes, there were some Charlie Browns in the bunch, balloons wound and drifting among the leafy green tops of the tall trees in the backyard. But, gradually, as we watched, they blew in the breezy skies and freed themselves. I turned away for a moment, and the last one was mysteriously gone.

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