I don’t need a national holiday in order to miss my mother, who passed away four years ago, or to miss my children and grandchildren, who live too far away.
When my children were at home, I had a love-hate relationship with Mother’s Day. Sure, there was the chance for a dinner I didn’t have to cook, but it often came packaged with depressingly exalted visions of mothers and motherhood that made me cringe. Or cry.
But now that my kids are out of the house, I’m less ambivalent and more hopeful about Mother’s Day. Because it can mean phone calls. The kind where you hear your child’s voice on the other end rather than see words from them in a text message box.
Doodle, the labradoodle narrator of the Doodlebugged mysteries, wouldn’t understand.
In fact, in Bed-Bugged, the first book of the series, he’s baffled by ten-year-old Molly’s obsession with her mother, who disappeared when Molly was only three. Molly keeps a book of photographs of the important events from her life, hoping that one day she’ll be able to give it to her mother. Hoping, really, that one day her mother will want the book, will want to be back in her life.
In the scene below, Molly digs out some treasures she’s hidden in a trunk and shows them to Doodle. explaining why she keeps them secret from her father, whom Doodle calls the boss.
Doodle doesn’t worry about the future the way humans do. “Live for the now is my motto,” he likes to say. Probably a healthy philosophy but for humans, to be a parent is to live in the past, the present, and the future all at once. I can’t help but remember, when I look at my grown children, how they once fit in the crook of my arm, how they wobbled with their first step. I can’t help but imagine what evils might befall them if I, as their mother, failed to ward off dangers with preemptive worrying.
My mother used to joke about birds tossing the fledglings out of the nest. “Just you wait,” she’d say, smiling. “When it comes time to leave the nest, if you don’t do it on your own, we’ll help.” For all the smiles, she meant it, because she believed that good parenting meant raising children to be happy, independent adults.
But it didn’t mean that she quit caring or worrying over her children, just as I can’t keep from doing the same with mine. Independence, it seems, can be a one-way road.
I’ve often wondered if one of the things that charms us so much about dogs (and other pets) is that they are like children who never grow up. No good parent would ever wish that for a child. But no good pet owner hopes to see the family dog get a job and move to another state.
Still, pets or not, most mothers miss their children, and children, young and old, miss their mothers living and dead. Hallmark understands this.
Doodle wouldn’t. But then he’s a dog.
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To read more about Molly and Doodle, enter a Goodreads Giveaway for a chance to win a free paperback copy of Out-Sniffed. Or check the links below for paper and ebook copies of all the books.
BED-BUGGED: “. . . delightful, briskly paced, with appealing characters, especially Doodle. Kroupa’s knowledge of, and love for, dogs shines through every scene.” –Sherwood Smith, Goodreads Amazon ◊ Barnes & Noble ◊ Kobo ◊ iTunes
OUT-SNIFFED: “. .warmhearted and funny but never superficial. . . I haven’t met a fictional character in a long time that I enjoyed melding my mind with as much as Doodle.“—Mary Jo Rabe, Amazon.com
DOG-NABBED: “. . . the perfect blend of mystery, suspense, and laugh-out-loud doggy observations. Completely delightful from beginning to end.” –Virginia Smith, best-selling author of the Falsely Accused Series. Amazon ◊ Barnes & Noble ◊ Kobo ◊ iTunes