Monday, January 08, 2007


“If it’s not one thing …it's my mother” by Judy Fedele

It’s my mother. The phone rings not 10 seconds after I’ve hung up from her previous call. Gotta love that redial button. I check the caller id (as if I really need to) and wonder whether I can get away with not answering it - vacuuming? diaper change? I sigh, grab the phone and brace for the latest senior moment, otherwise know as the Call-Back-Kvetch.

For those of you who haven’t grown up in a Jewish household, a kvetch is like a nag, which is quite similar to an annoying reminder, only more so. And without prelude, the voice begins, “I forgot to tell you ... maybe you shouldn’t go out. Just in case you were thinking about going out. It’s supposed to snow.” (What, snow during the winter? Thanks for the heads-up, Mom. Glad I have you to bring me up to speed. God knows that these things would never occur to me on my own.)

There’s nothing quite like a nagging Jewish mother (sigh). Her wisdom, subtle as an icicle down the back, trickles out over the phone line. She feels it is her special duty to call and remind me of the obvious. Apparently the expression, “You’ll always be my baby” has overwritten the fact that I, too, have reached adult status. Never mind that I am a mother myself. It matters not at all to her. She has taken it upon herself to continue the mothering process, whether or not I need it. Apparently she still needs it.

I do have to say that she was really a great mom while I was growing up - always there for me, always supportive, always self-sacrificing for the family. Always nagging, too, but always available! My mother set an example (and still does to this day) of the kind of mother I want to be (but without quite so much nagging). And I know that I should strive for the same kind of support for my own family, as well as for my friends. To be open and willing to take the time to listen, counsel, encourage, whatever.

People will always have needs. How do we choose to help them? Do we wave them away or beckon them inside? Are we on hand when our friends are hurt and down? Do we bring meals over if they’re hungry? Boil it down and that is the very essence of mothering: How Can I Serve You Today? Practical help for real needs. If that idea sounds good but you can’t think of how to get started in your own circle of friends and family… no problem. I’ll have my mom give you a call.


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