I’m very blessed to still have my Mom.
It was easy to be reminded of that this past weekend, as I read online Mother’s Day tributes from family, friends, digital “friends”, celebrities, and other randoms I follow. Inspiring. Revealing. Loving. Your words said it all.
Mother’s Day is an uncharted celebration for those with newborns. It’s a day of pampering for those with toddlers. It’s a “how did I get here” day for moms with teenagers. It’s a welcome oasis for the recently separated. A long-standing family tradition for those with adult children, and a reboot of the cycle for new grandmas.
Celebration cedes to tributes, tears, and timeless memories for those who can no longer tell their moms they love them in person. It’s a remorseless reminder for those who are marking the first since their mom’s passing. That tragedy attempting to mute a beautiful family day, but foiled by your proud voice that ensures your mom will be recognized.
My mom is eighty “plus” and going strong. It’s amazing when I look at her. I see her the same as I did as a child. The grit. The determination. The work ethic. The ability to laugh herself to tears. The unrelenting love of her husband.
She and I had our battles when I was young. Even when I knew she was right, I pressed my case with stubborn pride. Some things never change, but she was right more than I was.
Thankfully I listened. She may not have realized that, but I did. Her words, her actions, her examples. They taught me profound lessons. I learned at an early age that you make your own breaks in life. That there was no room in this world for excuses. That the colour of your skin wasn’t as nearly as important as what it held inside. That when I thought I had a bad day, it was nothing compared to what those of her generation endured on our behalf.
Today I love to tease her with my childhood persecution stories. Some of them are legit, some are, well, just a bit enhanced. I have the ability to repeat the same urban myth to myself to the point where I am convinced they are reality. You know the type of story where you walked uphill to school both ways? Colourizing my childhood fables makes for great storytelling, so I like them.
What is closer to the truth is that we were well fed, well clothed, and well loved. We knew that our parents were there to protect us. Even more, we knew that they would support us, even when we were wrong. That didn’t mean we didn’t get punished, but it did mean the punishment came with an equal dose of wisdom. Keeping the repeated mistakes to a minimum.
I think of my Mom as the ultimate boss any young person would want.
She set high standards, but never asked of you something she wouldn’t do herself. She was demanding, but never put you through something she hadn’t endured. She was a high achiever, but always applauded your achievements even more loudly.
Mother’s Day may only be one day a year, but it’s a debt that will never be paid off. Not that my Mother, or any of our mums, would ever expect that. That’s not part of the maternal contract. In their honour we should seek ways to pay tribute to all mothers from around the world.
Look no further than the Globe and Mail’s recent visual story this past weekend entitled The Single Mothers of Afghanistan. Read aloud, the text affiliated with each image. Picture your mom raising you in those circumstances. Imagine raising your children in those conditions.
In honour of your mother, how can you help all mothers around the world? A world that seems to be drifting rapidly towards a real life version of The Handmaid’s Tale. A world where rights, not just of women, but of all marginalized groups are evaporating. A world where Mother’s Day may soon be an illegal act.
I am so fortunate to have my mom today. My Dad is so fortunate to have married this crusader almost sixty years ago. My sons, niece, and nephew are so privileged to grow up with a loving nanna.
You make our lives better and we should say thank you every day of the year. You also show me how valuable moms are to all our futures.