Happy Mother’s Day to all of you who are moms, who are in the role of mom to someone, or are about to be a mom for the first time. Today is the day set aside for you. Sitting here the day before Mother’s Day, I am thinking back to past days when I was a kid celebrating Mother’s Day.
When I was a kid, Mother’s day was always spent going to Catholic church, listening to the story of Mary, Jesus’ mom, and her sorrow as a mom when they crucified her son Jesus. As a 10 year old kid, it never did much for me, I just remember sitting there, starving because we had to fast before Communion, and feeling like I was going to puke from the smell of the incense the altar boy’s would give to the priest to swing around in the little incense holder. I was only thinking about the fun to come going to my grandparent’s house with all my cousins and Grandma’s chicken and mashed potatoes and cole slaw. Church seemed to last forever with all the anticipation of what was to come.
But eventually church would end in a benediction and prayer for all the moms and we would be outside, me breathing in all the fresh air I could to relieve my nasal passages of the incense from church. We would all hop in the station wagon and off we would go to Grandma and Grandpa’s for Sunday dinner and a day with all my cousins. We would pull up to the house and you could smell the chicken baking long before you got to the house. Even though it was Mother’s Day, my grandma, my aunts and my mom would do what they always did…work their tails off to get the meal on the table, get everyone fed and then do the clean up of the meal for over 20 people. But then they would sit at the dining room table with coffee and dessert and visit the rest of the time. The women in my family were all about giving, even on Mother’s Day, they were taking care of their families amidst celebrating “their” day.
My mom died when I was 23 and pregnant with our oldest daughter. Mother’s Days after she was gone were spent visiting my grandma and after she was gone it was just having a day where my Best Half took me to Walmart and let me pick out flowers and seeds for the garden. We didn’t have much money, but this was one of my favorite things to do on Mother’s Day. He would patiently push the cart and follow me as I looked at each and every flower in the rows and rows at the store. I would find some packs of flowers and seeds and off we would go home where I would plan and begin to plant a flower garden. After 42 years of marriage, we tend to still make it an annual trip to pick out flowers on or close to Mother’s Day.
When all the kids were little, it was always a fun day on Mother’s Day. The kids would each have some little art project they had made in school especially for Mother’s Day. It would usually be made out of popsicle sticks or yarn or both. And I would find a spot to display each one for as long as it held up with Elmer’s glue and tape.
Life was really busy with 4 kids, especially when they were so close in age,only 5 years apart from the oldest to the youngest. One year as a gift for Mother’s Day, my Best Half gave me the luxury of a hot bath for as long as I wanted without any kids at the door interrupting. He stood guard at the bathroom door for the entire time, fielding questions from the kids, handing out snacks at the door and making sure I got time to have a leisurely bath. Best…Gift…Ever!
As the years flew by and the kids got older, Mother’s Day became usually more of moments rather than an entire day. We would have breakfast and sit and visit for a bit, but eventually the kids would wander off and hang out in their rooms or meet up with their friends. And we would gather back for Sunday supper which usually consisted of what my mom made back when I was a kid, a beef roast with onions, carrots and potatoes around it. A super easy dinner that always got everyone to the table at the same time. No work for me on Mother’s Day and the family all together for a meal. I see now why my mom did that on a lot of Sundays. No work, and everyone showed up.
Mother’s Days now, with the kids scattered all over the country, aren’t anything what they used to be when they were young. It pretty much consists of a phone call at some point in the day from the kids and grand-kids, or a text if they're at work. With the ones who have kids of their own, it is their day to honor and celebrate the mom of their family. Maybe it will be a trip to the store to buy flowers for the yard or house, maybe it will be a special meal where they all can sit down together and celebrate, or maybe new traditions will arise for each of them. All I know is, after the calls and texts, I will be at the store, with my Best Half following with the shopping cart, picking out my flowers for the yard and garden. And I’ll be throwing the traditional beef roast dinner in the oven. Happy Mother’s Day everyone.