Wishing all Mothers of the World, Happy Mother’s Day, no Matter Where You Are!
Every second Sunday of May, Mother’s Day, we pay tribute to the person in most households who predominantly performs the unrecognized and thankless chores that allow us to live our lives the way we do. Mom is the rock of most families, the stabilizing force who keeps things organized, insures everyone is ready each day to face the world’s challenges from all angles, and who always seems ready to take the stage if called upon to do so. Whether you love your Mother for her cooking, her smiles, her wit and wisdom, or for her always nurturing touch, Mother’s Day is when we say “Thanks Mom” for being there for us.
If you’re like me, I can remember telling my Mother numerous times when growing up I will never do something the way she does. I can’t count the number of times I laugh at myself when I recognize I am repeating exactly what my Mom instilled in me. I bet you have similar experiences too, which is why we spend Mother’s Day letting Mom know how much we appreciate her, whether we physically spend the day with her or not.
If you’re like me, we think of our Mothers as saints everyday; we don’t need Mother’s Day to remind us. But not all Mothers start that way. Like us all, Moms need to find themselves and define their roles. At an early age, I could tell my Mom was doing just that, trying to define who she is and what role she would play in not only my life but the other lives she touched along the way. My Mother’s influences, her Mother as well as two of her Aunts, made sure my Mother would be there for me. Mom’s 2 aunts were surrogate Mothers to Mom as her Mother, my Grandmother, was in and out of hospitals due to the causes and symptoms of epilepsy, a disease that ultimately contributed to her untimely early death when I was 4 years old. The stories my Mother tells of her childhood are always happy ones, detailing how her Mother and 2 Aunts contributed to her being the role model she is today. But Mom’s childhood must have been difficult; different homes, different people, different rules, different schools, different friends. It was that difficulty that formulated her grit and determination. To this day, Mom’s acceptance and flexibility of people, events, and circumstances instilled in her at an early age, provides me and my siblings a constant bed of support, wisdom, and a reminder that sacrifice is a good thing.
Growing up, Mom was the disciplinarian in our home. She sometimes ruled with the proverbial “iron fist,” using plastic bats, wooden spoons, or what ever else she could get her hands on at times to insure me, my brothers, and my sister stayed inline. After the scolding or the bruising, Mom was always the person who reminded us, with kind and nurturing words that we have brains we need to use correctly to obtain the dreams we want to achieve. Mom emphasizes education, something she continues today for herself, her children, and her grandchildren. Mom emphasizes completion, that without completing what you start nothing will get accomplished. Mom emphasizes anticipation, being able to recognize what is and what isn’t and always keeping your eyes well ahead of where you are now. And Mom emphasizes acceptance, that no matter who we are and no matter what the circumstance, accepting the people and experiences that surround us is paramount if we intend on being a great person who will contribute to ourselves and others. I don’t think local sheriffs of today would be very accepting of how my Mother used certain household implements to get her point across. But it worked in the overall scheme of being disciplined. I recognize this Mother’s Day that enforcing a routine of good habits that day in and day out create success, is something all great Moms do, whether intentional or not.
My first date was at the age of 5, with my Mother. She took me to see the Sound of Music at a local movie theater. I don’t remember if we had anything to eat before, during or after the movie, but I do remember Mom poking me every once in a while, reminding me to stay awake because the good part of the movie was coming up. Mom took me to my first concert. Mom walked me to school that very first day and was there to walk me home when the school day ended. And my Mother insisted on staying up late to make sure me and my siblings made it home safe and at our designated curfew times. But along with her early childhood influencing her, there is a series of events in her life and in mind that clearly define my Mother as a person, and as a mother.
Mom experienced a severe knee injury while in high school. A decent athlete, her doctors took the stereotypic opinion of that time that a “girl” did not need to have her knee fixed. She did end up having surgery that amounted to a more severe long-term injury for her than the short term fix it provided. From that experience, Mom understood the sacrifices needed to get back to full strength. And she never allowed the constant and intense pain she felt in her knee to ever get int the way of her being Mom.
I experienced my first severe knee injury in high school. It was critical that I get back to full strength quickly so I could realize my dream and goal of playing college athletics. Mom was by my side for the first and all subsequent knee surgeries I have experienced over the years. During my first experience, Mom made sure she was with me at every rehab appointment. Mom never asked, she demanded I lift the weights, do the exercises, and stay on schedule so I was fit when the day came to try out for the team. 29+ years later, Mom was there for the 4th and hopefully final ACL surgery needed to keep me in shape to perform at my best. Medically and scientifically, a lot has changed since Mom had her knee “fixed” in 1959. The one thing that has never changed since that time is the encouragement, tough love, and support a Mother, My Mother, continues to provide me and my siblings, no matter what sacrifices she chooses to make for our benefit.
I wish my Mom, and all Mom’s a fantastic Mother’s Day! And I hope as you experience Mother’s Day this year, with or without your Mother being present, you remember her for the small sacrifices she made to instill the values you live by today.
Happy Mother’s Day, Mom! I love you!
And to Grandma, Aunt Anna, and Aunt Betty, no matter what you are doing up there, Happy Mother’s Day! Thanks for being great role models for my Mother to follow!