There isn’t a Hallmark card in the world that can sum up all the "thank you’s" that you owe your mother.
Yet, there I was, as I do every year, picking up countless Mother’s Day cards and trying to find the one with the perfect combination of quirky anecdotes and heartfelt sayings that would show my mom, and my wife, how much they mean to me.
If it were up to my son, due to the fact that he can’t read yet, he would choose a card based on which animated character looked like he loved his mother the most. This week, my son is all about Spiderman so he was in search of the perfect "Spidey" card that would no doubt say something to the effect of "Have a webtastic Mother’s Day, from your friendly neighborhood Spiderman", or something to that effect.
Yet, I must point out that if Mother’s Day fell a few weeks from now, we’d be in search of a card that had the likeness of Shrek or Capt. Jack Sparrow on it, as the movie industry continues its quest to crush me financially as they put out a new kids film what seems like every three weeks and then proceeds to put its characters on everything from band-aids to backpacks.
I often wonder if people think the way that I do, and though that may sound extremely self-absorbed, let me explain a bit of what I’m saying. My mind wanders at the drop of a hat. I could have the simple task of going to order lunch from a deli for the family and somewhere between the house and the deli, I forget one extremely important condiment that needs to be added or omitted from the sandwich or salad and it usually has to do with one of three things: 1. A song comes on the Ipod or the radio, which gets me dissecting the lyrics and singing along. 2. I think of something that I haven’t done that I need to do. 3. I try to catch up on phone calls that I’ve been ignoring.
So, the rather simple task of choosing a card for my mother can sometimes take longer than it should take any normal card-buying consumer. I pick up one card that has some not-funny joke about the ridiculous amounts of house cleaning that mothers do, and I recall my mother saying to me one time when she saw all the bedrooms of the family’s five kids. The rooms looked as if a grenade was simply thrown into the rooms and the door was quickly shut before the explosion of kids toys and 4T toddler apparel.
She simply said, "well son, someday you’ll realize that cleaning is in fact therapeutic."
I’ve never forgot that, or the way that she, despite burning her candle at both ends and rarely getting enough sleep would still wake up hours before everybody in the house to drink copious amounts of coffee, read a book and have a little peace and quiet before the circus started each morning. I often think of those times when I staggered down the stairs, dreading the idea of getting myself ready for school, and there she was, cherubic and peaceful with s vat of joe and her green eyes smiling at me as she glanced up from reading the book of Job.
That, amongst so many other things, always amazed me about my mother.
Moms get less credit than teacher’s do. Ironically enough, my mom started working again as a teacher once all the kids were grown. She once said to me that the hardest thing about staying home and being a housewife is that you are rarely told that you are doing a good job. Once I became a stay at home dad, I realized how true that was. However much you might hate your job, there are those moments when you get some sort of accolade or praise from a colleague or a boss that it gives a bit of fuel for the proverbial motivation tank.
The dynamic of mothers has changed over the years. In this society of both parents almost having to work, there are the moms that either juggle the desire to be a successful career woman and play "super-mom", or they give up a successful career and choose to stay home with the kids. I think that though everyone thinks that it is a valuable thing to do, most people don’t realize the price that a lot of women pay personally to be the warm and loving caregivers that we are honoring this Sunday.
It’s true, men are simple creatures and women are complex labyrinths. Because of this, it makes it really hard to pay proper homage to everything that mothers do, especially if you are a simple man like myself. I’ll never be a mother, and I realize that I may not truly understand what it is that make mothers so priceless even though I’ve had one for my entire life and known countless other women that hold the title of mother. There are millions of poems, jokes, anecdotes, one-liners, and acronyms that describe how much your mother reeks of awesomeness, but for me, they aren’t enough.
How can I give the woman who carried me for nine months and gave me life a "whimsical bird feeder" and a card from Hallmark and think that it could be enough?
My bohemian mother gave me a passion for music, so much so, that her teaching of music in our home made me subconsciously learn all the words to most show tunes, which as a teenage boy in high school isn’t necessarily good for your libido. Just because I know all the words to the "Music Man" and can walk down a flight of stairs like they would on Broadway (you know, with the shaking of the top hat and the dipping of the right leg as it crosses over the left) doesn’t make me less of a man, right?
It may drive you crazy as it does me when you argue with your wife, and she trumps you with this one line "well, I went through 32 hours of labor." It may make you mad that all you can do is comeback with "but, I gave you all those ice chips." Yet, this Sunday, as with most Mother’s Day’s, it’s the one day set aside to tell your mom how grateful you are that though she may not be a CEO, or a business woman that is changing the world one creative idea at a time, she is your mom, and that’s all that you need.
So go buy a blank card, think for a few seconds, and write what you really feel about your mom, and/or the mother of your children. It may not rhyme, but it will make her day like your chicken-scratched stick-figure drawings did when you were in the third grade.
And then when you are finished, do what she’s been telling you to do, since you moved out of the house: "Cawl yer Mudda."
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org