News From Terre Haute, Indiana

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May 12, 2013

SUSAN DUNCAN: Advice to the kids on Mother’s Day

TERRE HAUTE — Just so you know, now settled firmly into middle age, I think of “kids” as anyone in their 30s and younger. I also accept that many of my elders view me as an upstart whippersnapper, though snapping even my fingers nowadays can be a chore.

There are some things you should know about us moms. While every individual is unique in and of herself, moms share some intrinsic qualities. Here’s just a few of the endearing — and not so attractive — traits that come to mind.

We are:

• Earnest — we always mean well, even if the results of our efforts are dubious.

• Fallible — no pedestal, please. We don’t belong there. Our humanness too often will be laid bare for all to see.

• Candid — our “wisdom” comes out of our mouths so quickly sometimes it leaves us wondering, “Who said that?”

• Heavy-lifters — though usually more diminutive than our parental counterparts, we’ve carried, tugged, toted, pulled and pushed you into adulthood — and we’d move heaven and earth for you.

• Tender — we cry. We cry when we’re sad. Doubly so when we’re happy. Harder still in our frustration over not being the keepers of time. We would, you know, if given the chance, turn back the clock.

• Spoilers — let us. It’s OK if we buy you a new coffee pot so we can have your old one. If we still lay out all the kids’ Christmas presents to make sure they’re equal. If we insist that you take home leftovers — for the week. We feel good about it, so please, tolerate our indulgences.

• Insecure — we re-think it all, replay moments when we fell short, would do it differently if only we could, wish we would have handled it better, know now that, in some way large or small — we failed you.

• Annoying — always trying to “help,” even when not asked to do so, even when we ought not. We know better. We don’t mean to interfere. We understand, on some level, there should be limits to our involvement in your lives. It’s in our dogged DNA, though. We helped you learn to walk, do math (not geometry), throw a ball, blow bubbles, tie shoes … and, besides, your time will come to help us.

• Blessed — on this Mother’s Day 2013, and every day, to have you in our lives. Love you always!

Susan Duncan is the assistant editor of the Tribune-Star. She can be reached at 812-231-4333 and


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