Ahhh…Mother’s Day. Hallmark at it’s finest. We should appreciate our mother every single day and do special things for her all year round, but we do like our holidays. I learned from Wikipedia that the day dates back to 1908 and a woman named Anna Jarvis, who campaigned to create the holiday to honor mothers. She did it to honor her own mother, who was a peace activist during the civil war. in response to her campaign, Pres. Woodrow Wilson instituted the holiday in 1914. According to the article, Ms. Jarvis herself was angered at the commercialism which followed as early as the 1920’s and even staged protests against companies who corrupted the holiday. A classic case of “be careful what you wish for,” I would say. I believe that the commercialism has now completely overshadowed the intention, particularly for flower and candy companies. Bah.
In any case, I have to preface this next bit by saying that no, I haven’t told my mom I have a blog (Is it just me, or is it common to not tell one’s family that particular fact?) But even so, I’d like to tell you, chers lecteurs, a few special things about my mom. I made a point to tell her these things directly the last time I visited her.
Three random things I learned from my mom:
– Reading is important. She was always reading, therefore I always wanted to read. I remember pretending to read, even before I completely knew how. She taught me to read by the time I was 4 years old, and I haven’t stopped 🙂 My husband teaches a karate class at a center which has dance classes as well, and each year there is a big recital that he helps with. This year he told me there was a girl who got in trouble for reading instead of helping, and when the teacher admonished her, she said, “But…I’m almost finished!” He thought that was funny, but I, who have gotten in trouble for reading many times in my life, missed the humor 😉
– Slow down. My mother is not a fast walker at all. She always lags so far behind my dad (and me too, because I learned to walk fast from my dad!) that he often turns around and ask whether or not she is coming. But this slowing down is important because, as Ferris Beuller says, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” My mother is the queen of finding great bargains in stores, for example. She lives in a fairly small town of about 40,000 people, and she’s been there for so long that she knows a fair number of them. She knows the ladies who work in Dillards and JC Penneys, and if she sees something she likes, she knows they’ll tell her to wait for the sale or not, depending on the item. She strolls through a store, and she looks at every single item on the sale racks. Every. Single. One. But her patience is often rewarded and she comes home with that dress that used to be $200 but ended up costing her $30. She taught me this skill (the technical term for it is “Mart-ing” by the way…she made that up. Because we’d go to Wal-mart, K-mart. shoe-mart…you get the idea). Anyway, I will never be the professional “Mart-er” that she is because I lack the patience most days, but sometimes I do pretty well.
– Be polite. She taught me to be polite, quiet, and respectful. I do try my best here, even though I sometimes fail. She taught me to be respectful of different cultures, and that the best way to learn is by listening. She taught me to stand at the end of the line and not push up to the front. She taught me that things offered to me are not my entitlement. I remember a time when I got in a lot of trouble from her…I must have been around 9 or 10 years old, and I was at a friend’s birthday party. Her mother started serving the cake, and all the kids were pushing up to the table, screaming that they wanted the “corner piece” or the “piece with the rose” in order to get more frosting. I joined in this ruckus, and my mom saw me do it. Later, she told me that I was very rude and that I should be pleased with whatever piece I was given. I had to apologize to my friend’s mother for my rudeness, and I didn’t forget that lesson. My petty desires in life are nothing compared to my inordinate blessings.
So…there you go. Wisdom from my mom. I myself do not have children, so I can’t pass these things on to any children, but I thought it would be nice to publicly acknowledge how smart my mother is. Strange how I didn’t realize that until I was in my 30’s, but I guess that’s the way things go.
Happy Mother’s Day to all.