Who Is Yours On Mother’s Day?
The day we celebrate our mothers happens the second Sunday in May each year. Like other celebrated days throughout the year, we shower the honoree with gifts, flowers, perhaps a meal at a fine restaurant. After the event has ceased, we move forward for the next celebration in the calendar. This year, I decided to take time out and think about the person who is my mother, before brandishing gifts and accolades, hugs and kisses. Taking time out to honor her, not for the expected results, but for the person I came to know.
My mom is 95 years old this year. What I have come to know of her has evolved from someone who is ‘mom’, to someone who has been a person, like me, that has offered the world more than the role of mother. Growing up in the family home around her, I appreciated very little about her as a person. To me, she was my mother. She was that person that worked multiple jobs, cooked all the meals, baked wonderful desserts, pastries, and bread. She kept a huge garden and canned all the produce that flourished from her green thumb. The fruits of her labor were lost on me.
Then it happened: I became a mom myself. A truer understanding of that role developed over time and I began to understand what the role of mother entailed and what it meant to me. Of course, this realization didn’t happen instantly, it sort of settled in over time. I began to grasp the meaning more so over the past few years as my own mother experienced medical struggles. My role as a mother has been changing and evolving since my baby, my child has garnered a life of his own with a wonderful wife and new baby on the way. These events have triggered many thoughts about motherhood, life as a moving train, going faster and faster around that bend.
My mother grew up in a time that doors were opening to women, but only because a world war had taken all the men from the workforce and plummeted them into an unknown life of death and destruction. Baking cookies and keeping a tidy house were no longer the mainstays in my mother’s world. She finally had choices, and choose she did, a life without convention. She enlisted in the Army and volunteered to go overseas to Europe right in the thick of things. She defied logic and refused to sit behind a desk, typing letters, memos, and other military writings. She chose to drive a supply truck, where the headlights mandatorily were blackened out. She drove this truck to the fighting enlisted men so they would have the supplies needed to fight the good fight. I didn’t realize how amazing this was until it was too late to share it with her.
I am saddened and disappointed in myself for not taking the time to think about who my mother really was as a person. She is so much more than the person I grew up around. Many days the tears from my heart fall down my face because I didn’t honor her that way she should be honored. Mother’s Day is not just flowers, candy, gifts, and dinners. The real gift of Mother’s Day is the person we call mom. The real person we just forget or don’t realize has been in our lives longing for us to get to know her.
My purpose for this story, this tale of my woes, is to spark some kindle of interest in you, the reader, to take the time to get to know your mom. Know her for more than what you believe her role of mom entails. Get to know the person who has lived a real life before you came along as her child. Make this effort before it is too late and the opportunity is lost. Knowing this person, you call mom really takes you to a place of understanding about who you have become as a person. Now I know more about myself and pieces of me that came from her. Those pieces that I tried to deny all my life, have now become blossomed flowers that I am proud to have has the bouquet of my existence. Traits that I disliked in myself are now traits that have been passed to my son. I see the strength of those traits through him and the wonderful blessing that he is carrying on a familial gift, hopefully, to pass to his children.
On this Mother’s Day, I honor my mom, not as my mom, but as a courageous person, a woman who dared to live a life ahead of her time, ahead of what culture expected of women. My mom is truly a person of the Greatest Generation. I salute her service to this country, and I am forever grateful for the traits she has instilled in me.
Happy Mother’s Day to all moms who are persons first and moms as an outcome.