Tuesday, May 1, 2012

May Day

No doubt, this is a self-indulgent post.

Let's face it, though.  Blogs are self-indulgent.  It being May Day and an election day somewhere, this is the right time.

When I was 13, and someone who had experienced the cliched suburban kid lifestyle of the times and the riches of Christmas in the past, my mother gave me only one gift for Christmas--a pencil sharpener.

It was a battery-operated Snoopy pencil sharpener and it was all she could afford (I really wanted it--once a geek, always a geek).  It's my favorite gift that I have ever received for Christmas.

My parents had divorced earlier that year.  In the 1970s in our world at least, divorce was big news.  I was the only student at St. Regis School with divorced parents and my mother was devastated.

I watched my mother over the next 25 years build a new life, literally moving from near-poverty to a modest and comfortable retirement existance.  I have great memories of that post-divorce time.

We jumped up and down dancing in our living room the night she found out she had a permament job and we shared similar joy in that same room when George Brett hit a three-run ninth-inning home run to tie game 5 of the 1976 championship series against the Yankees.  We shared grief when Chris Chambliss led off the bottom of the ninth with a home run.

I remember, years later, taking my mother and 3-year-old daughter to a Royals game and watching them "awe" together at each fireworks explosion after the game.

My mother was born on May 1, and died on May 31, 1999.  In the Catholic world, May is the month of Mary.  It's fitting that a great mother had her life's bookends at the beginning and the end of the month of May.

When I was elected to Shawnee City Council in 2002, I wish she had seen me sworn in.  I tried to treat my time on the council as a prayer to her.  Similarly, in this job, I am motivated to be someone she would always be proud of.

I'm blessed to have been close to three women who are truly admirable, all for different reasons:  my mother, my wife, and my daughter.

I'm further blessed to be working at this office, with people who really want to be here, are great at their jobs, and support me more than I deserve.

So, today--a day to reflect and feel fortunate.  Tomorrow, off to Dodge City for a statewide meeting with election commissioners and county clerks.  I'll blog from the road.