Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing up is like shoveling the walk before it stops snowing. ~Phyllis Diller
"Don't blow your nose. Just use your sleeve."
"Is that shirt dirty? Ehhh...whatever."
"Yeah, I ditched school too."
"Sure...lets keep the dog."
...not exactly what you'd expect mothers to say. But if they did -- the world wouldn't be nearly the same place.
In the United States Mom's Day falls on the second Sunday in May. The social activist Julia Ward Howe toyed with the concept after the end of the Civil War but then; unfortunately, she failed to get it officially recognized as a holiday. Ann Jarvis, a young Appalachian homemaker, then again picked up the idea. And through her and her daughter Anna's efforts we now have an official national holiday dedicated to the women who have given birth and/or have raised children.
Mother's Day, one of the most commercially successful U.S. holidays, is when female parents across the country get acknowledged for their contributions during the often thankless task of raising children.
Mothers are universal. There's no denying it...we all had one. My mom, for instance, was wacky -- sure -- but she was a swell parent and probably no different from many others. Though it took me a lifetime to learn, she did the best she could with the resources and information she had. And despite her challenges and limited energy, her three children all turned out to be solid citizens. (A few college degrees here and there and no drug convictions or jail time served.)
And although my mom has been gone for almost twenty years I'll never forget how she made our clothes, baked our bread, preserved our jams and jellies, cleaned like a twister out of control, helped us with our homework, read to us quietly each night before we went to bed, and ultimately, how she prepared us for the world. She made holiday treats and Halloween costumes, dressed us for proms, encouraged us to practice our music lessons, painted rooms single-handedly in an afternoon, and even occasionally mowed the lawn.
In response to their knitting sweaters (the ones my mom completed were "interesting" to say the least), preparing special meals (no matter how you slice it, a boiled cow's heart on Valentines day is just plain sick), words of encouragement ("Honey, I know you just flattened a mailbox during you're driving test...maybe next time."), religious training ("You better pray that comes out of the carpet."), wisdom and guidance ("Maybe a pet alligator wasn't such a good idea.") and unconditional love and forgiveness (on Christmas Day, 1970, at the age of eight, I almost burned down the garage...sorry mom!) and quite simply doing, doing, doing and going, going, going -- to all mothers everywhere, on this special day, we stop, take notice, pay honor, take her out for brunch and scramble for a bauble or trinket to show her how we feel.
So instead of giving a traditional gift like a box of drugstore chocolates or a Forget-Me-Not-Bouquet (Forget-Me-Not? How could she ever forget giving birth to you? The woman still has stretch marks on her backside with your name on them!), how about giving her a Forget-About-Cleaning-The-House-Bouquet? I suggest you make an arrangement of coupons committing yourself to a year of household duties.
It might say something like "For your nine months of carrying me, I promise to carry out the trash for the next year." Or how about "For your thirty-six hours of mind-numbing labor, I promise to clean the bathroom for any thirty-six hours of your choosing (non-consecutive hours of course, unless your mother was Joan Crawford)." Or what about, "For supporting and feeding me for 18 years, I promise to take you out or cook you dinner 18 times over the next year (just no cow hearts, OK!!??)"
Now that's gratitude!
On Mother's Day, whether she's right there at home, hundreds of miles away, running for President or long gone and just a faint memory, take a moment and thoughtfully acknowledge her. Remember, she's the one who gave you your first breath and lovingly looked into your eyes for the very first time. To the world you might just be one person, but to her you are the world.
(Happy Mother's Day, Mom...)
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