Here’s to more true public service messages, like this pre-cell-phone-explosion public phone booth Mother’s Day ad. Cell phones make it less physically “troubling” to pick up the phone, and most will be picked up on Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 9, to call you-know-who. But is there the follow-up to make the everyday difference that counts? And will talks be more about the weather than, heaven forbid, overcoming any one-sided sharing?
But most longtime mamas (and even fewer daddies) unfortunately do not say, “Would it be that much trouble to pick up that phone and call me?” Like my former neighbor, Eve Jackson, once wrote this paper, “As mothers are not in the habit of criticizing their offspring in print, we won’t get to hear her side of the story.” Nor are such laments even shared with close friends, clergy or therapists. Some who dare to mourn this relationship dearth get the stock reply: “But they have their own lives…” Anti-depressants are often prescribed.
Even the First Grandma is not immune to feeling wistful about young First Granddaughters (whose primary caregiver she is) having less and less time for her. And rebels like me, who have come to believe the most destructive apartheid is generational, especially the family kind, may become social outcasts, persona non grata.
Sure, the phone works both ways. Call your adult child at home? There may be unresolved problems with the offspring-in-law or housemate. Most parents of adults hesitate to call the workplace, which, although there is now a “Take Your Animal Pal to Work Day” and “Take Your Daughter (now Children) to Work Day,” still none for the mamas and papas. Cell phones? Well, who knows when that might be intrusive?
So what is a mother (or father or grandparent) to do? Well, don’t be silent. Tell the world. All right, at least tell me, the founding and only member of both the Families Forever Club (extendeds and in-laws included, of course) and the Share the Talk Club (constructive and respectful discourse, of course). Guess they’re one and the same. But they are not impossible dreams, not if enough of us share them!
In the meantime, fledgling restaurant Meltemi Mediterranean Grill (York Avenue between East 78th and 79th streets) is a most nurturing and multigenerational family-run place to take your mother, or just yourself, to lunch, brunch or dinner. I love its four-star ambience that makes you feel and look better—and enables nourishing talk over the plate, where the food and its severs are quite satisfactory. There’s even a garden.
And here’s to frequent reminders—public visuals—to really support those Second Avenue businesses, which are paying dearly for that which all New Yorkers will eventually benefit.
And nurture as well the New Amsterdam Boys and Girls Choir (nabgchoir @yahoo.com), whose music to unite generations will bless Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church (73rd Street and Madison Avenue) Sunday, May 16 at 11 a.m. The choir will also sing at the 10:30 a.m. service on Sunday, May 23 at the Church of the Heavenly Rest (90th Street and Fifth Avenue).
Mothers are best honored by overcoming the many societal forces that keep offspring worldwide from “picking up that phone”—enough to make the difference needed by every generation, everywhere.
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