It’s Either One Thing or Your Mother

I do not recall the moment of my children’s births. In fact, in 45 years, there are surprisingly few images seared into my consciousness. Tonight, I saw my mother in a medically-induced coma, recovering from open heart surgery. The surgery, I am told, was successful and she should be able to fight with me first thing tomorrow. But, for now, the vision of her helplessly asleep, intubated, and eyes wide shut, brought back haunting memories of my father’s death bed. I did not think about our fight last week, or last month, or the month before that. Suddenly, I could not remember why we see things so differently.
Instead, for the first time in decades, I was able to picture her holding me as a child. Letting me climb into her bed when I had chicken pox. And the time she had tears in her eyes when I left for camp. (in retrospect, probably tears of joy). The special dinners and occasional walks around the block. I recall the horrible, but well-intentioned advice she gave me about girlfriends. But mostly, I finally understand how she felt when she received the phone calls from my teachers. And the crippling fright she must have felt every time I left the house.
She spent the last 41 years teaching and advising a generation of grateful high school students. Without fanfare, and without much remuneration. Yet, she raised a financial advisor, a doctor, and a lawyer. And, by all measures, we are doing pretty well. Perhaps her greatest legacy is her 10 grandchildren, each one happy, secure, and talented, with unlimited potential for the future.
It’s funny. Sharks get a whole week; mothers get one day. Maybe it’s because sharks aren’t nearly as scary as the realization of adulthood that your parents are human. Their mistakes are almost certainly involuntary and, while it is easy to blame our parents for our shortcomings, it is important to recognize that, in most cases, they did the best they were capable of – – even if their best fell far short of our own lofty (but, perhaps, misguided) revisionist expectations.
Late in life, I have forgiven my childhood bully and high school nemesis. I have made peace with my close relatives who still insist on seeing me through the outdated prism of my youth. I hold no grudge against some of my contemporary friends, colleagues, and community leaders, who preach inclusion and tolerance, but practice neither. So, isn’t it time to let my parents off the hook?

About aweisbrot

Ari is a prominent litigator in New York and New Jersey. He has been featured on CBS Radio’s Wall Street Journal Report, quoted in legal and non-legal periodicals, and has been recognized as a “SuperLawyer” in New Jersey and a "Top Ten Lawyer to Watch" in New York. Mr. Weisbrot is a true “client’s lawyer,” representing a diverse range of clients from among the largest retailers in the United States to smaller local businesses to religious and charitable organizations. Ari was appointed by Supreme Court of the State of New Jersey to a three-year term of service on the Committee on Character. The Committee determines the fitness to practice law of each candidate for admission to the Bar of the State. Mr. Weisbrot also continues to serve on the District Ethics Committee (IIB - Bergen County), which operates under the auspices of the New Jersey State Office of Attorney Ethics. Mr. Weisbrot has been awarded an 'AV' rating for his professionalism and the quality of his legal work from Martindale-Hubbell, the premier directory of legal professionals, and has been selected by his peers as a Super Lawyer. In addition, Mr. Weisbrot has written several articles on commercial litigation, which have been published in the New Jersey Law Journal and the Metropolitan Corporate Counsel. A Former New York City prosecutor, Mr. Weisbrot is a graduate of Fordham University School of Law, where he was a member of the Urban Law Journal and a featured columnist in the Law School newspaper
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8 Responses to It’s Either One Thing or Your Mother

  1. says:

    Sorry to hear about your mom. Thanks for sharing. Refuah shlaimah.
    Curious to hear about your childhood bully…
    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  2. Joe Offenbacher says:

    I would like to send this to my kids and to a relative that needs this insight. Thanks!


    Joe Offenbacher Chill with a Freezee! Cell: 054-818-1462 Freezee Locations

  3. Bruce Abrams says:

    Best to your mom for a refuah shleima.

  4. Francesco says:

    I so my mother in a coma. I share similar memory-frames.
    Refuah Shleimah!(my wife says this is the right spelling)

  5. Refuah Shelaima! nice piece. but I haven’t forgiven the bully, even after more than 40 years. no one should be able to put someone through that kind of hell for so long.

  6. tobyasch says:

    How come I don’t know the bully?

    Auntie toby

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