Rummaging in my box of cards, I found a Mother’s Day card I’d purchased, but never sent. I planned too far ahead that year. Mom was no longer at an address serviced by the US Postal department.
I’remember many Mother’s Day celebrations, for my own mom, her mom, mom’s in law and the celebrations of my own motherhood.
Mother’s Day was the one holiday orchestrated by our dad. “Stand still.” A stern look from Dad, as we twisted and squirmed. The toasty temperatures in the Midwest heralded an early summer. A line that never seemed to move, at the fancy smorgasbord in Hagerstown, became an endurance test. A testament to how much we loved Mom. We did not connect this expenditure on Mother’s Day to frugal meals of scrambled eggs and toast for dinner in days to come.
“Kids, have you made cards for Mom?”
Back when I was a kid, the majority of families had a dad to coordinate the gifts and a special meal that would honor his children’s mother. Single moms today are beneficiaries of grade school teachers who inspire their children to commemorate their mothers with art projects.
For a brief time I walked in those shoes. Grateful when my son’s teacher shared a comment she received, “Nick, how old is your Mom?” I laughed aloud when she repeated his answer.
“She’s about twenty.” Nick is blind, but still I appreciated his proclamation of my youthful age.
“Thanks for sharing, it made my day.” The momentous occasion of my thirtieth birthday, the previous month, felt more like sixty when reinstated in the singles dating scene.
Reality hit me in the gut, that first Mother’s Day. No dad in residence. My children were not of an age to go shopping for a gift, let alone bankroll the elaborate meals of past years, funded by their father. I sensed expectation in their faces and bewilderment at the lack of celebration.
I put together an impromptu picnic. We sat in the shade and I mused over what Mother’s Day truly meant for me. “I am so glad you are my kids.” I told my boys how much I loved them. “I’m so glad to be your mom.”
Deep appreciation for my own mother surfaced. She’d weathered many years of “no father in residence” holidays. Humbled, I shuffled along in my mom’s worn and threadbare house slippers. I redoubled my efforts to celebrate with her, at any opportunity, every year.
The last day I spent in celebration of my mom’s special day, found her silver hair well coiffed at the salon in her assisted living facility. Clad in a bright pink top that showed off the special pin she’d made in crafts at her assisted living residence. It was a diaper pin, strung with bright beads that spelled MOTHER. She rolled her eyes as I admired her work.
I wasn’t sure if disdain or humor emerged from the fog of her dementia. “I’ve spent plenty of time fooling with diapers and pins. Never thought of them as jewelry.”
Happy Mother’s Day to you. You washed your share of diapers and wiped many tears with the same cloth. I hope there is a good internet connection in heaven so you can read my blog.