May 11, 2014


Today, I was privileged to see the best of humanity.

Mother’s Day, at Shelburne Bay assisted living facility.

A long-gone resident left staff the money to bring baskets of goodies for all the mothers. They were brought up by a young staffer and his family, twin sons aged 4, and daughter almost three. His beautiful wife wept the whole time.

They brought each of the mothers on the floor a bag of goodies and a single pink rose. Many were already out and about about with their families for the occasion, to brunch, church, other destinations.

There is only one thing left in life that can move me to tears, and it is gratitude. The way that the women, and the couple of husbands who still had their partners, the great grace with which they received the attentions of these children . . . I came home before I broke down. But I broke down.

So much gratitude for such little things. Visits from the children, most older than I, who came to see their mothers, from the very young who brought them their bags . . . so little desired, so much given (only by comparison), so happy to receive trifles, not least of attention.

I have met great people, whose children are only dimly aware of how great they really are. I wanted inspiration, and it kicked my ass.

I know Jeff’s father has moved on. Mother’s Day must be hard for his mom, because of that. And I think especially of all those women who would have liked to have been moms, but couldn’t, for whatever reason, and I think of you all whose moms have already gone. I think of my second mother, who died in June last year, and my best friend since the age of four, whose mother also she was.

It is right that we remember our mothers today, and all of them, aspirational and actual. Because despite all the feminist cant, women will pour out their love where it is needed. It is what they do.

Almost every blessing I’ve received in life has been because of a woman, in a way that I can easily identify. It’s not because men are ungenerous, but because women have the power of beauty, and it is a great power. Without it, where is inspiration?

I am grateful to you all.

Posted by vermontaigne @ 2:56pm

Comments (16)

  1. Goddamn beautiful, Dan.

  2. Thanks, Bob. I knew you’d get it.

    And . . . I’m not afraid anymore. Much.

  3. I don’t pretend to undserstand the backstory, but that brought me to tears.

    Last year, our Little League team brought flowers to 2 Nursing homes…It was so much fun, and yet heart wrenching…and no, I couldn’t wait to break down ( in the car)

  4. My mom, who is 89, recently moved into an assisted living apartment complex run by the Jewish Federation. Every Thursday I babysit my 2 year old grandson and if I can work it out, I try to schedule one of my visits to my mom on Thursdays, preferably when she’s having dinner in the communal dining room. It’s remarkable how much joy you can bring to older folks simply by walking a toddler through a room.

  5. Friendly dogs are also a big winner for many senior centers, although permission should be sought from the staff beforehand, due to the possibility of allergies or inadvertent scratches from untrimmed claws.

    The dog will also enjoy giving and getting the love and affection.

  6. This day is hard on my daughter. She misses her mom so very much.

  7. “There is only one thing left in life that can move me to tears, and it is gratitude.”

    *It’s great having you back, DC and Happy Mother’s Day!

    *No tears required.

  8. When my Mother-In-Law was in a nursing home, we brought our big lug of a cat, Frankie Two Times, for a visit and we soon had a crowd of wheelchairs and walkers around us. A quick visit turned into a couple hour visit – and, man, it was worth it. Frankie loved it because he loves everybody.

  9. PW is now up and this is the first post I see …

    Thank you, Dan. I feel blessed and privileged to still have my mother & father (in their 80s) and I wish peace and love to everyone who is missing theirs.

    There is only one thing left in life that can move me to tears, and it is gratitude.

    Gratitude is an essential part of being a free people. Which is being purposely replaced by a sense of entitlement. We are poorer (and less free) because of it.

  10. Second! (since the crash & recovery)

  11. Well, that was distressing. PW withdrawal can be quite painful.

  12. Comment awaiting moderation can also be distressful.

  13. Very nice, Dan.

  14. There seems to be so much cynicism and negativity these days, especially on the Internet, that expressions of joy for innocence and goodness are like oases in the desert. It’s refreshing to see posts like this. Thanks, Dan.

    I’m also gratified that Jeff is again including some more whimsical posts on the site. The crazy, ingenious humor is what made Protein Wisdom stand out for me when I first stumbled across it years ago. If we can still laugh, we’re not defeated.

  15. I’ll let Sam Adams express my agreement with you, Darleen:

    He who is void of virtuous Attachments in private Life, is, or very soon will be void of all Regard for his Country. There is seldom an Instance of a Man guilty of betraying his Country, who had not before lost the Feeling of moral Obligations in his private Connections.