When I was young, Mom always told us that Mother’s Day was a business boost for Hallmark and that we didn’t need to bother buying her a card just to help their bottom line. We, of course, didn’t follow her promptings and enjoyed celebrating her every May. After all, it’s not about the card — Mother’s Day is about pushing the pause button in this busy life and reflecting on the one person in our lives whom we can call Mom.
Quite naturally, my earliest memories revolve around my mother. I was 2 years old when I made an unsuccessful bid to overthrow her authority by refusing to take off my black patent leather church shoes when told to put on my cowboy boots as we headed to our farm. My determination to wear those shiny new shoes was no match for Mom — the epitome of a velvet crowbar.
Being a country gal, Mom didn’t flinch one bit during my youthful enchantment with collecting toads. “Just keep the lid on their cage, please.” Apparently, I forgot one evening … and my biggest toad found a home inside one of Mom’s tomatoes by the front porch. When she delightedly picked the unusually large tomato the next morning, my toad came bursting out, spraying her with what was left of the tomato. She tumbled back into the grass with a scream that probably reached the moon. Remarkably, I was still able to keep my toads — after a good scolding.
When I was a charming teenager and “clean up your room” was met by the rolling of my eyes as I headed out to school, she had the answer. I came home to find the contents of my entire room, every single belonging, spread across the floor of our den and hallway. I mean, what part of “I’ll get to it when I have the time” had she not understood? Think of how long that must have taken her! I was to go nowhere until everything was carefully returned to my room in an orderly fashion.
When I wasn’t exhausting her from my needed attitude adjustment, Mom enjoyed sharing her passions with me: finding a good bargain, adopting injured animals (squirrels, wild turkeys, starlings, you name it!), rewiring broken lamps, creating beautiful place settings for dinner parties, or planting a robust vegetable garden. She was also a keen nutritionist, figuring out how to make organic vegetable juice, which was just not a “thing” in the 1970s. She then lovingly prepared it for me before every one of my basketball games.
When Henry and I had our three daughters, Mom lived for the phone calls asking her to babysit. Being a caregiver was a part of Mom’s core being, thus when the roles switched when she was diagnosed with dementia about 10 years ago, it was a surreal experience for me to then fulfill that motherly role in her life. In the advanced stages of the disease, she did not always know who I was, her youngest daughter. But even in those moments, she did know I was someone who loved her very much. Mom died this past January, so this is my first Mother’s Day not to buy that Hallmark card and not to find a special way to celebrate her. However, with the memories fresher than ever in my heart, Mother’s Day will provide yet another Sunday in May to reflect on one of God’s greatest gifts.
I hope you’re able to either celebrate Mother’s Day with your mom … or with a heart full of very special memories of how she molded and shaped you to be the person you are today.