Archives for posts with tag: Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is over and it reminded me of the days when I owned a gift shop. Mother’s Day weekend was always a more than usual number of men, usually late in the day on Saturday, rushing in to get a card for their mother or wife. It was the same on Valentine’s Day. They grabbed a card and were out of there, not taking a lot of time other than to make sure it said something. At least they were making an effort to do something on a holiday that was obviously forced on them by the gift industry, the flower industry, society.

Some people are just better at acknowledging how they feel than others. Some don’t like being told to do something just because it’s a declared holiday. Some don’t like to be told to do anything. Some just don’t know how to do it. It’s nice to have specified days to remember our mothers, fathers, veterans, whoever. It seems like it got out of hand when we started having days for secretaries, grandparents, teachers, bosses, and anybody else the card companies could think to honor.

Starting when I was a little girl, I always – well, always may be a bit strong – but almost always as I remember, gave or sent my grandparents and parents cards and presents on the holidays, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, their birthdays, Christmas. It made me feel good to do it, to let them know I loved them.

Today, there are even more, even more convenient, ways to keep in touch…text, Facebook, Twitter, old-fashioned email, and there are still phones. In fact, now we have phones with us all the time, some with FaceTime. And there’s Skype. It would be nice to think that people were using them to communicate more often, with more love, from the heart. That’s what the ads show, after all. And there are always handmade cards and gifts that fill the bill. Here’s one my son made for me…I wish I’d dated it, but it looks like he was about 10 or so.

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Anyway, my point is that people need to tell the people they love how they feel while they can. If it takes a manufactured day to remind them, then that’s ok. If they could do it all the time, it’s even better. Don’t assume that your actions, although also important, speak louder than words. Everybody needs the words. Everybody. Nobody likes to feel taken for granted. Those manufactured holidays are a double-edged sword. They are a good reminder to acknowledge how you feel. For those who don’t receive anything on those days, it’s another kind of reminder and a different kind of loneliness and isolation. Some people are surrounded by loved ones who take it lightly. Some have nobody to remember them. It can be the happiest of days or the saddest or somewhere in-between (I know they love me, but it hurts that they forgot this day, even though I know it’s just a Hallmark Holiday). You know what I mean.

I’ve been lucky all my life. I have people who remember me on the days they are assigned to do so and I have people who tell me all the time. My husband and son were the best at bringing me surprises for no particular reason on top of the other holidays. They both started as little boys, doing sweet things for their mothers. Girls seem to be a little better at it…maybe it’s that shopping thing or that showing your emotions thing. Are the exceptions to those gender expectations born or taught by their parents? Hmmmm…

In the best of worlds, we tell each other how we feel in so many ways. We tell them out loud, we whisper it to them, we tell them with printed words, we acknowledge them to others. However you do it, just don’t forget how important it is to everyone…everyone. Thank them, tell them you love them, hug them. While you still have the time. Because none of us ever knows how much time we have.

The only things that prepared me for being a Mommy were my own terrific mother and grandmothers and my ability to read anything I could on the subject. And my friends as we shared parenthood and its adventures together. I was one of the first of my friends to have a baby and I was still in college, graduate school, so I hadn’t been around any babies. I was the oldest child in my family, but we were close enough together that I didn’t remember anything about taking care of them.

I was a novice with a Better Homes & Gardens Baby Book propped open on the changing table to show me what to do. I was a good student, so I guess I approached it that same way. It was funny at the time and funnier now that I’ve had four children and eight grandchildren. That’s the first thing you’d better learn – to laugh at yourself. My husband and I often would look at each other and burst out laughing at the absurdity of it all.

A fantasy book I wanted to write while in the thick of motherhood was going to start “I had no idea how much shit I was going to handle in my lifetime…” I meant that literally and figuratively. To be more polite, let’s change that to messes of one sort or another. There’s the messy bottoms, faces, and vomit at the bottom of that mess pile. We can throw in the pet messes along with that – dogs, cats, hamsters, rabbits, chameleons. What else did we have? Then there are just messes that kids make. How many Legos have I picked up in my lifetime? Star Wars characters with their itsy bitsy guns? Blocks, books, balls of all kinds, shoes, socks…it goes on and on. Some of my kids were neat and some were messy. A couple lived their teen years in rooms so bad that we just closed the door – I’d learned not to pick up for them by then. There were cooking messes…

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and dirt and mud, especially when I had a soccer goalie daughter who didn’t mind wallowing in the muddy goal. I never seemed to have towels in the car to get her home.

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And then there were life messes to clean up. Hurt feelings, anger, bad tempers, broken hearts, disappointments. You grit your teeth and pick up the physical messes. You gird your heart to take care of life’s breaks and falls.

Being a Mommy was the best thing that ever happened to me…still. I’ve been through the worst of it and the best of it and would do it all again. That would be in another lifetime…I’ve earned my stripes in this one. My son called me Mom and my girls call me Mommy. My daughter-in-law calls me Karen. They’ve grown up to be wonderful adults and parents and I’m so proud of them and for them.

Being a Mommy is a great class that never stops teaching you about yourself. You learn how far you can be pushed before you break into anger, laughter, or tears. You laugh a lot at the adorable things your children and grandchildren do and say and at yourself along the way. You are angry at yourself, at them, at others when they do the wrong thing or someone wrongs them. You learn that life isn’t fair, your children aren’t perfect, you can take on way more than you think. You learn that you cry for them, with them, and when they accomplish something big or small. I’ve cried through some pretty silly school programs. It could be that the most uncontrollable tears of all are the ones of pride.

Most of all you learn that your heart is way bigger than before they came into it. You learn that it swells with pride and a love you never understood before. You learn that it can be broken and that they help it heal.

This Mother’s Day weekend, I rejoice in the lessons this Mommy has learned. I remember with gratitude the love that I was surrounded with from my own Mommy and grandmothers and aunts. I send much love to the precious Mommies in my family who make me so proud of them and their children.

And love to all Mommies out there. Have fun, be proud of what you do and laugh at yourself with joy! Happy Mother’s Day!