“And when the night is cloudy, There is still a light that shines on me,
Shine on until tomorrow, let it be.” -McCartney
John and I watched Across the Universe the night before my mother died six years ago. I remember very few details because I was so worried about her. I knew she was having a hard time with her recent round of chemo, but I had no idea her body was shutting itself down after battling colon cancer more than five years. I remember the movie was visually stunning and the Beatles’ music artfully arranged, but I can really only recall sobbing during a funeral scene set to a gospel version of “Let It Be”. I think of her every time I’ve heard it since. I read recently that Paul McCartney wrote it about his departed mother, but I feel like I somehow already felt that.
At Mothers Day (well really every day) I think of her and John’s mom Mary Lou and wish they could be here to get to know our boys. I like to think of them watching over us and laughing so hard they cry at our kiddos’ antics, especially the ones that remind them of the wringer we put them through. Luke usually prefers to play inside with his Lego collection whenever there’s free time, and we sometimes must coerce/coax him into getting fresh air. “Let’s go outside. It’s a beautiful day!” we say, “Legos can wait.” But not when there are important creations to be built and epic adventures to enact. John often shakes his head and mutters, “this is how she felt”. Not surprisingly, the verse, “When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me, Speaking words of wisdom, let it be” reminds me of Grandmother Mary Lou.
So I’m choosing to be proud of the behaviors that certainly cause our mothers fits of giggles. Some of Joel’s most maddening actions are those I wondered if he’d ever accomplish, and I can’t believe how proud I am to admit he pushes my buttons and wears me out mentally more than physically these days. He is smart. So much smarter than most people realize, smarter than I remember sometimes. A black belt in parental manipulation, he cries the instant John tries to sit down in church and whines through transitions at school most often only if I’m present. He quite literally crawls under my feet at home, banging on the bathroom door and pulling open drawers and pots off shelves in the kitchen and play kitchen. He pulls magnets off the fridge and tosses them over his shoulder, and
he laughs when he’s caught diving for Cheerios under the dining room radiator. And he knows when to wrap his arms around your neck and nuzzle into your shoulder so that you will always forgive him and always be ridiculously proud of his antics. Which is so deliciously typical. Who knew the highs could be so high?
“Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.” -Nouwen
Let it be.