Never Compare Your Middle with Someone Else’s Abs?

 “Never compare your beginning to someone else’s middle!” 

John Acuf

I don’t know John but his remark about not getting discouraged when starting out on a new venture reminded me of what my Mother always said:  “There’s always going to be someone smarter, richer, prettier – fill in the blank – than you.  And there’s always going to be someone poorer, not as smart – fill in the blank – than you.

Even as a child I was aware she was trying to teach me not to compare myself to others. Comparison can foster jealousy  or worse, snobbish superiority.

I wonder  . . . Sometimes comparison is good.  It can motivate me to strive to attain something better, to avoid something worse, to appreciate what I have . . .

I wonder . . . Was Mom trying to prepare me for middle age spread?  

I wonder . . . Did John know my Mother?

“For me, grief comes at funny times, over funny things.”

Picture my Dad carried in his wallet of my Mom in her 20's when they first met

I read a beautiful blog post on Phylor’s Blog about her Mother, Father and memories.  She ended it with “For me, grief comes at funny times, over funny things”.:

I replied to her post and had to stop when I started to tear up.

My Mother died 10 years ago today.  I have a VERY bad memory for dates.  But I know it was December 12, 1999 because December 12th is my dear friend Joyce’s birthday and I couldn’t stop thinking about the fact that Mom missed living to 2000 by only 2 weeks.

It seems Mom was always both behind and ahead her time:  She gave birth to my brother when she was 30 years old — extremely rare in those days — In 1950, 30 was OLD to have a child; She upcycled clothes when upcycling was not in the dictionary; She learned to swim and DIVE and had her first airplane ride in her 40’s.

Mom gave me my love of creativity. She knitted, sewed, tailored clothes, made jewelry, stained glass, copper enameled, painted, water-colored, tooled leather, did ceramics – she would try anything.  I am always a bit sad that she’s not here to experiment with me at all my new creative endeavors.

I do remember her at funny times, over funny things:  She loved eating anything off the bone, particularly turkey carcasses; She kept a sign up over the stove “This is Selma’s kitchen.  If you don’t believe it start something” – where that sign came from I don’t remember; and when things were difficult she always said “This too shall pass.”

She had polio as a child and one leg was shorter than the other.  You couldn’t tell until she took a photo – the pictures were always at a slight tilt.  As she aged she developed post-polio syndrome and was in excruciating, intractable pain the last years of her life.  She never complained but you could see the pain in her eyes.

It doesn’t really matter if I believe she is no longer in pain and in a better place.  I  miss her.   I also believe there never is an end to grief as long as I am in this body called human.

This year my grief came with Phylor’s blog post.