Mother’s Day is near. For some, it will be a very happy day. For others, it will be a lonely, difficult time. For a few, it will be a day of mixed blessings.
Recently, I have been doing a little people watching. I have been both listening and observing people as they prepare for this auspicious day. Some of the people that I have viewed are happily preparing for it; joyfully looking for that perfect gift for mom. Others I have heard grumbling and bemoaning the fact that they “have to waste my busy time for such an obviously commercial day.” A few have bluntly announced “I have no intention of buying that battle-ax a (fill in the blank) thing!”
While it may be true that Mother’s Day was conceived by greeting card companies and florists who wanted to sell more products, I have to ask, “who cares?” What is wrong with a day that recognizes all of the things that our mothers have done, continue to do, and will likely always do to help us?
I fall into the category where Mother’s Day is a bittersweet time. While I know that I will enjoy every minute of the day with my daughter and grandson, it will still be somewhat sad. Part of that reason is because my son and granddaughter are clear across the country in Oregon. I will miss spending the day with them.
The other reason that the day will be difficult is because it is the one day I wish my mother could be here – – her old smiling, sweet, mischievous self. Of course, that isn’t possible because Alzheimer’s has taken her away from me forever.
Mothers, like the rest of us, are fallible. They make mistakes. Sometimes those mistakes are whoppers. While some of those errors might not be forgivable – – and you know what those are – – most certainly should be; unless, of course, you happen to be one of those perfect people that I haven’t yet met.
I’ll be honest. My mother and I were not always close. When I was growing up, she didn’t know how to say the worlds “I love you,” much less show the emotions behind the words. At the time I didn’t understand why and I resented her for it. However, as I grew up and saw things the way they really were, I thoroughly understood the reasons behind her inability and I forgave her.
Some moms have to work. It doesn’t mean that they love their children less. In fact, in many instances, it is because they are seeking to provide a better life for their children than they had themselves. However, many children view that limited time as some kind of indication that mom just doesn’t care. Chances are that isn’t true at all; although it might be true that she doesn’t know a good way of showing it.
Other mothers are strict disciplinarians. Unfortunately, sometimes children want to judge their mothers against those of their friends. While those other moms might be more permissive, it should not be viewed as evidence that they love their children any more (or less) than the strict mother does. Each mom makes decisions based on the best information that she has available to her. Sometimes, that equates to a different set of rules than children wish to follow.
The point of all of this is that mothers will make mistakes. They always have and they always will, because they are human beings. That doesn’t change the fact, however, that they loved us enough to give us life. They cared enough to give up things they wanted so that we could have things we needed. They cared for us when we were ill. They supported our goals. They helped us become who we are. For that – – and that alone – – they deserve recognition.
At one time if my life my mother worked three jobs. She worked from 7:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. at the floral shop. Then she served as elevator operator from 2:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. at our city’s tallest business building. Then she moved to a local restaurant where she waited tables from 5:30 p.m. until close (11:00 p.m. during the week and 12:00 a.m. on weekends). Then she would rush home, fall into bed to sleep a few hours before starting the day all over again.
She did that to put food on the table, clothes on our back, and to keep us together as a family – – without any government support. I honor her for that. It was a hard life, yet she did it willingly.
There are thousands of stories about mothers like mine. Although each one is different, chances are the sacrifice is heartfelt and heart wrenching; certainly worthy of a single special day.
Whether or not your mother falls into a positive or negative category, if you are now a mother yourself, you probably want to “feel” that you have achieved your goal in letting your children know how much you love them. Mother’s Day is a day that hopefully allows that to happen.
Forget the fancy store bought cards and flowers. Forget the expensive gifts and extravagant dinners. Mom doesn’t care about those things. She cares about you! And all she wants in return is the same.
My favorite Mother’s Day memories with my children didn’t include presents they couldn’t afford. They involved breakfasts in bed – – usually chocolate Cocoa Puffs (their favorite) and toast (my favorite) – – handmade cards, and family day playing our favorite games. Those are precious memories that money cannot buy. And that’s all that mom really wants!