Tag Archives: Mother’s Day

‘Optics’ keep getting in the way

UPDATE — I’ve been advised that I made a mistake regarding this picture. I wrote below that it was taken at a White House function to honor the mothers and spouses of those serving in the military. It was taken in late April at the Joint Armed Forces of Washington Luncheon. The White House did not plan this event. I offer my sincere apology and regret.


This picture showed up on social media today and, once again, we find ourselves out here in cyberworld wondering about the optics of an event involving the White House.

The message atop the picture asks a point-blank question. Anyone with any sort of discernment skills knows the answer. There is a decided absence of “women of color.”

First lady Melania Trump played host to military moms this weekend in honor of Mother’s Day. You don’t have to squint too hard to notice how, um, pale the gaggle of women appears to be.

I take nothing at all away from the service these women are performing as their sons and daughters, and their husbands, are defending the nation we all love. I wish them all nothing but the safe return of their children and spouses, many of whom likely are serving in harm’s way as we all get ready to shower the women in our lives with love, gifts and a nice meal.

But for crying out loud! Can’t we get past the questions about racial insensitivity that keep dogging the Donald J. Trump administration. The president has told us he is the “least racist person you’ll ever know.”

Really, Mr. President? How can believe that when pictures such as this one seem to suggest or imply something else.

You know what they say about “perception becoming reality.”

Dads get smarter the older we become

“When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years.”
— Mark Twain

How true is that?

Of course, it’s not really the “old man” who learned all those thing. It’s the individual he brought into the world who’s climbed the learning hill.

Most of us have had similar experiences with our parents. Dad and Mom were dumber than dirt when we were kids. Then at some point, a miracle occurred. For me, it came around the time of my 25th year.

I was a new parent at the time myself. The younger of my two sons had just been born. My wife and I were seeking our way in the world. We couldn’t really know, of course, where our journey would take us. It’s taken us to plenty of places. We’ve been able to see and do many things we never dreamed of doing when we both were kids.

But right about the time I started my own on-the-job parental training, I began to realize the difficulty that my parents went through to rear my sisters and me. And I began to realize they weren’t so dumb after all.

This wising up happens to most of us. When it does, benefits are spread all around.

Mom and Dad seem smarter than they were. You definitely are smarter than you were. The shared wisdom accrues to everyone.

The greatest payoff of all is when you realize on these days when we honor our parents — such as Mothers and Fathers Day — that you’ve done your job well.

The journey my wife and I have taken together for the past nearly 44 years has included watching our own sons grow into fine men. Did they think of us the way ol’ Sam Clemens and I thought of our parents? Sure they did … and although neither of them ever articulated as such to either of us, it’s part of growing up.

That’s OK. We’re all past that now.

They’ve made us proud every step of the way.

All of us have gotten smarter, too.

Father's Day stirs memories

Father’s Day has been a joyous, but oddly strange, event for me for the past, oh, 34 years or so.

My own father died in the late summer of 1980. He was just 59. He was out cavorting on a business/pleasure trip just north of Vancouver, British Columbia when a small speedboat he was riding in crashed and capsized. Two of the men survived the crash; Dad was one of the two who died.

In recent years I’ve tried to imagine him as an old man. He’d be 93 now. I know a lot of 90-plus-year-old men. Many of them are quite vital, full of energy and ideas, are fully engaged in the world around them. Would Dad be like that? We’ll never know.

Mom would die just four years after Dad. She was just 61 when she passed away. She had suffered from Alzheimer’s disease and, take it from me, no one ever should endure the misery of watching a cherished member of your family vanish before your eyes — even as she sits right in front of you.

But Father’s Day has been a blessing for me nonetheless.

Yes, I still miss both of my parents terribly. However, I’ve been blessed beyond all measure by the life I’ve been able to lead. I owe those blessings to my wife and my own two sons.

We’ve ventured far and wide as a family. We’ve gone to places, seen things and met the most interesting people possible. We’ve been able to share much of that together. I have enjoyed the ride immensely along the way and hope they’ve all enjoyed it as well.

My sons are now successful in their respective careers. They’ve forged good lives and have grown into responsible men. One of them has added blessings even above all that by marrying a lovely young woman and producing our first granddaughter who, I shall declare here and now, is the most beautiful girl on Planet Earth.

It’s been said that everyone has a story to tell. This is just a tiny fraction of my own story. This post, though, isn’t about me. It’s about my blessed family.

Those young men and their mother are the reasons today I celebrate Father’s Day.