Nowhere Boy Thoughts

 

 

I mostly agree with Anne Lamott on her Mother’s Day thoughts. To clarify, I agree that it’s a tough day for many people—motherless children; childless adults; parents of wayward, lost, deceased, or disappointing children; children of abusive, mean-spirited, dismissive, or absentee mothers. Then too, there are the mothers who cannot let their children go. Not now. Not ever.

You get the picture. We live in an imperfect world, and sometimes it’s a wonder people turn out as well as they do.

One of the things I recall from SOC 101 is that one of the primary functions of the family is to raise the young. The family, not just the mother, has the responsibility to look after the development and well-being of children. It takes a village and all that. Aunts, mothers’ friends, neighbors, grandmotherly types (ha ha—like me), and other females can all play the mother role.

In church Sunday a woman who happened to be holding a baby for a young friend was asked to say the opening prayer. She didn’t hand the baby off to someone but promptly stood, walked to the stand, and babe in arms, said the prayer. Her husband later remarked that he couldn’t recall ever seeing a man give a prayer holding a child but had seen several women doing so. Women are coded differently, he intimated. Maybe they have a nurturing gene—or something.

On Mother’s day evening, I watched Nowhere Boy, a movie about John Lennon’s youth and his complicated and sometimes stormy relationships with his aunt who raised him, Mimi, and his mother whom he hardly knew. I’ll use estranged to describe the relationship between Lennon’s parents, Alf and Julia, and complicated to describe the one between Mimi and Julia, Lennon’s aunt and his mother.

For many reasons, John Lennon lived with Aunt Mimi and her husband for most of his childhood and adolescence. At some point, he became increasingly involved with his mother, to Mimi’s disappointment and concern, and Julia encouraged his musical gifts. A fun and free-spirited woman who eventually gave birth to three other children, Julia doted on John, and with her he felt acceptance. In the movie, he moved in with her and her family for a short time (just a few days as I recall), and Mimi was heartbroken.

I wasn’t there so anything I write is based on the movie and on my subsequent reading, but from my “research,” it appears that John was a resilient child who had the love of many adults, including his mother and her four sisters, especially Mimi. Julia loved him ferociously and was overjoyed to have him back in her life. As an aside, when John was finally reunited with his father, twenty years had passed.

Tragedy struck one afternoon when Julia was struck by a car leaving Mimi’s house. I have no knowledge of the effect on the rest of the family, but John and Mimi were both devastated. Distraught, he cried out, “I was just getting to know her, and now I’ll never see her again.” (paraphrase). Much of his music was influenced by Julia, and his older son Julian was named after her.

The point of the above? I don’t know except to say that mothers, however imperfect, can and usually do make a difference in a child’s life. But so can aunts and grandmothers and teachers and others with the desire to nurture. According to what I’ve read, John stayed in close contact with Mimi until his death in 1980.

 

Lots of Rainbows

Sunday was an awesome day from dawn to dusk and then some. I never need a reminder of how special my mother was, and yet since it was Mother’s Day, the day was filled with memories of her words, actions, looks, advice, laughter, personality…and well, you get the picture. I had to give a talk in church, and the topic was how a mother can influence her children to live the teachings of the gospel. While the talk including some Biblical women whose lives demonstrated faith, love, courage, kindness, and hard work. I just had to let everyone know that my mother had all those sterling qualities in one 115 pound package.

Here’s the quote: “Like Rachel, she was beautiful, and like Leah, she was hardworking, dependable, and faithful. Like Hannah, she was grateful for all of her blessings, and like Mary and Martha, she kept a good balance between her spiritual and her work-a-day life. And then, like Dorcas, my mother was mourned by her friends after her death.”

By the way, I lifted that right out of my new book, Eve’s Sisters. I’d like to think that my mother would have been pleased to hear such sincere praise, but then again, she might have been embarrassed at the extra attention.

Later in the day, I headed to the coast and stopped in Conway for a visit with my daughter Elizabeth. She’s the only one of my three children I got to lay eyes on (in person) that day. I had some face time on my iPhone with the other two AND with my seven grandchildren. (The fact that I had to use my iPhone instead of my computer was the first indication that I was going to have connectivity issues.)

Elizabeth treated me to a delicious Mexican dinner and presented me with some lovely treasures, including a bag with the peace symbol on the front. Then we communicated with Paul and Amanda and their two precious children using my phone and their iPad. Olivia spent much of our time “together” spinning around in circles. Then she proceeded to be Mama’s little helper by feeding her baby brother a little bit of milk. Amanda describes Ethan as a “chill baby,” and he certainly demonstrated that trait last night! Although he couldn’t have been getting much nourishment, he patiently endured his sister’s efforts without a whimper.

Ah then, we repeated the same communication via phones and iPads with my daughter Carrie and her five children in Rincon,GA. It was thrilling to see Braden looking so tall and acting so grown up. He’ll be 9 in two weeks. The girls told me all about their muffin and doughnut sale of the day before. Brooke raised $52 from the customers, and then Emma gave her $7 of her hard earned money for her old bike so now they both have wheels. Colton told me that his favorite muffins tasted blue, and Seth just stared at the screen looking like an angel baby.

Time to bring this to a close. I’m sitting in an internet café because I can’t get connection with my tiny MiFi or the hotspot feature on my iPhone. Doesn’t that seem a little weird? Why am I paying so much money every month for a service that I can’t use??? It’d be easy to get angry, and yet I find myself remembering a song that Brooke sang to me Sunday evening, the same one that I heard the Primary children sing earlier that day. I didn’t memorize it, but it goes soemthing like, “I love to look for rainbows whenever there is rain.” I have lots of rainbows in my life and am focusing on them. Thanks for the reminder, Miss Brookie!