"All that I am or have today I owe to my angel mother." - Abe Lincoln
Often it is the woman in the family that holds a family together. Women are by nature the nurturers. When a family loses its mother things are just not the same.
I know that something happened inside of me when my mother passed away. Although she had been sick, the doctor could never figure out exactly what made her ill. When I think of my mother I do not think of her as she was those last few months. I remember her in better days.
When my mother died I became the oldest one in my immediate family. That was a funny feeling.
Mom was a strong woman, but she was very caring. She put everyone ahead of her. She followed the commandment that said, "Honor your mother and father that their days might be long." We lived with my grandparents. They helped raise me. I am a product of my environment. I had the benefit of two generations of strong women. It was hard to fool my grandmother. She always knew what I was up to.
If you are fortunate to still have your mother with you, be sure to honor her. The celebration does not need to be anything formal or fancy. A meal that she does not have to prepare is often a luxury. If you are a daughter with a family of your own you can certainly appreciate that.
When I was a young mother I remember that I felt that I did not count when it came to Mother's Day. My husband was not one to take over the responsibilities of the kitchen. He did not even like to grill. If we were going to eat on Mother's Day, I had to cook. Of course, I invited the mothers. Sometimes my mother-in-law had other plans since she had a daughter as well as a son.
There were times that I resented that responsibility. Now, I would give anything for a chance to cook for my mother and mother-in-law again. They were not hard to cook for. They loved whatever was put in front of them. A day to relax with family was what it was all about.
The gifts were not what Mother's Day was about. The day was about family. I did not need gifts. What I needed most was time. The best Mother's Days were those when the family did something together.
In the years that the children were away from home attending college I looked forward to a call from them. They say that the phone lines are the busiest they ever are on Mother's Day. I suppose though with all of the ways we have to connect these days that has changed.
Being a mother was one of my greatest joys. From the day my first child was born I cherished my time with my children. All phases of motherhood were fun. I knew as all mothers do that the children would not always need me as much as they did when they were babies. I just did not know at that time how much the children will always need me. I have a wonderful relationship with my children. There is a give and take at this point. I help them and they help me. I consider my children and their spouses as friends. I am so thankful that my children live nearby. I realize that many mothers do not have that luxury.
When I saw the graph in the newspaper the other day that noted that most children would leave this area after high school it saddened me. Family is what ties our lives together. A strong family life is something to treasure in my book. Although I moved away from home to become part of this country family I maintained close contact. My mother lived close enough to be part of the children's lives.
The American culture is one of the few that does not revere their elders. There is an attitude that it is all about me in this culture. That is so wrong. It does nothing to strengthen the family unit. In some countries several generations live under one roof. That is just the way it is. Children learn from their elders. They also learn to respect their elders. In America the oldest part of the population gets put into institutionalized care so that they are not a bother. Maybe a token visit every once in a while, but that is all. Please note here that your Amish neighbors do not function that way. They build additions to their homes so that the older generation stays nearby. In that respect I think they have the right idea.
For me it is on to the next generation. My grandchildren spend a lot of time with me. That time has been well spent creating a bond that spans the generations. They enjoy coming to my house. They enjoy doing things with me. Last week it was grandparents' day at school. My youngest grandson invited me for lunch. We had a wonderful time sharing things from our lunchboxes and visiting. The class that sat behind us did not seem to have many visitors. What a shame! I am not sure if the children did not have grandparents nearby, or if they did not invite them, but it was an opportunity missed to connect the generations.
As you prepare for this special day set aside to honor mothers think of the simple things that your mother might like. Most of all, plan to spend time with her.
Ann Swanson writes from her home in Russell, Pa.