Time for Mother’s Day

Anna Jarvis organized the first Mother’s Day celebration on May 10, 1908, in Grafton, W. V., to encourage families to honor their

My mom with her great-granddaughter.

My mom with her great-granddaughter.

mothers with simple, at-home gatherings. When the holiday began to attract commercial attention in the following years, Jarvis became upset and protested what Mother’s Day had become. She believed that it was taking away from the true intention of Mother’s Day, which was to show loving displays of gratitude for mothers and grandmothers.

The love a mother has for her children has not changed over time. Stories through the ages tell of the sacrifices mothers endured, the unconditional love that enabled some children to overcome challenging obstacles, and the miracles that followed.

Some famous mothers through time include Eve, who was the very first mother. The Bible tells the story of how she disobeyed God by eating the forbidden fruit, and she and her husband, Adam, were banished from the Garden of Eden, their paradise. She had two sons, Cain and Abel, and had to endure the pain of childbirth and the heartbreak of losing a child, while having to accept the fact that one of her children was a murderer.

Mary was the mother of Jesus of Nazareth. She stood by him through thick and thin, even as he was ridiculed for his insistence that he was the son of God. She believed in him, even as he was crucified and died on the cross, and accepted that this was his fate, for all mankind.

Mother Teresa was made a saint for helping lepers in India. Though she had no children of her own (she had given her life to God as a nun), she was a mother to all, caring and nurturing the young, the old, and the sick. She lived in poverty, among the lepers, and taught others to be loving, generous, compassionate, and kind.

Rose Kennedy, famous mother of the president of the United States, approached her mothering duties almost like a sports team manager, keeping records of everything from kids’ dental visits down to their shoe sizes, according the John F.Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.

She lived to be 104 years old, outliving four of her nine children, all of whom died in tragic circumstances. Her oldest son, Joseph, was killed in action in World War II in 1944, and her daughter Kathleen died in a plane crash four years later. John was assassinated in 1963 and Robert was assassinated in 1968.

Actress Angelina Jolie takes her role as a mother very seriously. She and actor Brad Pitt adopted four children from various countries and then had twins five years ago, bringing the total number of children to six.

But not only has Jolie had a tough role as an actress and a parent, but she made the decision to have a double mastectomy to avoid breast cancer. Her mother died of ovarian cancer in 2007 and Jolie wanted to do what she could to prevent that from happening to her.

Jolie said in Elle magazine that her daughter, Vivienne, was cast in the role of Little Aurora in the her new movie, “Maleficent,” but the stress of working with their children was almost too much, and they decided maybe that’s not the best thing for them.

And then there are the fictional mothers. TV moms like June Cleaver, Carol Brady, Roseanne Connor presented the changing roles of mothers through the decades.

June Cleaver was the mom in the TV show, “Leave it to Beaver.” Mothers then (in the 1950s) were depicted as woman who did not work outside the home and keep the house spotless, and shopped a lot. As a mother, she was pretty awesome, but almost too perfect.

Carol Brady branched out in a new role as stepmother in a blended family in “The Brady Bunch,” something that was unheard of until the 1970s. Being a mom in that situation was often hilarious, but there were some serious moments, too. Carol showed other moms in that situation how it was done.

Shirley Partridge was a single mom in “The Partridge Family,” but she showed the world she could do just fine on her own, without a man. She was both mother and father to her five children. She had it rough, especially with their lifestyle as a musical family. But the show did hit on a few lessons that could be learned by the moms in the audience.

Claire Huxtable was the mom on the “Cosby Show” in the 1980s.  Though she worked professionally outside the home, her five children were well-behaved. They had their problems, but her role as a black professional working mother helped other black women see that they, too, could work full-time and be a good mother.

Roseanne Connor showed a realistic scenario for the 1990s mom. A quick wit and a sarcastic attitude showed moms that life does not come with a handbook, and sometimes you have to improvise in order for it to work.

Moms of the new millennium are busy, busier than they have ever been. They work full-time jobs or go to school while rushing the kids to sports events, play practice, and show choir. They sit in the front row with their cell phones or video cameras capturing the moments that they can look at years later and say, “Where has the time gone?”

Mothers have an undeniable bond with their children. It is an unconditional love that stays with them until the day they die. And if we do it right, our mothers aren’t honored just one day a year, but every day.

Maybe it’s a phone call out of the blue, or a surprise delivery of flowers. Perhaps she would like a frappuccino from Starbucks (with lots of whipped cream!).  But most likely it’s the time you spend with her that matters most. Maybe just talking with her, laughing about the funny things that happened when you were little, or maybe just holding her hand and telling her that everything is going to be all right. Maybe that’s all she really wants this Mother’s Day.

Take a few moments this Mother’s Day to sit down and really talk to your mom. And don’t forget the frappuccino.

 Read more at markitcr.com

Celebrating mom, not just on Mother’s Day

My mom is 82 years-old.Mom's Birthday 023yes

Every step she takes is excruciating for her, and so she spends much of her time sitting in her chair with her dog by her side, watching television.

She complains that with all the television stations the cable company offers, she still can’t find anything to watch.

“I’m going to cancel cable, I think,” she says, but she never does.

My mom doesn’t like to do much of anything else. Every hobby I suggest is met with a slow shake of her head.

“Would you like me to get you a good book?”

“No…” she says. “I used to like to read.  I don’t know what happened.”

“How about a craft….scrap booking, maybe?”

“No….” she says with a sigh.

She likes doing the daily crossword puzzle in the local paper, and at least, that seems to be keeping her mind active.

I sit and talk with her when I can.  I tell her about the changing landscape of the city-new businesses that are going in up the street, old buildings that are getting knocked down to make room for the new.

I offer to take her out on nice days to show her.

She shakes her head.

“It’s just too hard,” she says.

She has started using the laptop I encouraged her to buy so she could stay informed about what is going on in the world. But she doesn’t understand any of it and seems to find comfort in what’s wrong with the world today, instead of what is right.

“I don’t understand why people come over to visit me and then sit there texting on their phones instead of talking,” she told me one day.

I shrug my shoulders. “That’s just what people do now,” I say. “It’s not right. It’s just what is.”

She looks at me and laughs. “Yeah…I suppose. I’m just lost, is all.”

Her statement makes me want to cry.

My mother, a once active and vibrant woman lost more than a spouse when my dad died five years ago. She lost the desire to participate in life.

She doesn’t say it, but she’s mad. She’s mad at her situation and mad that my dad left her alone. She’s mad that she can’t do many things she used to.  I have tried to lift her spirits, to make her see that she still has a lot of life to live, but she just doesn’t seem to care anymore. She is just existing.

I wrote my mom’s story for the family a few years ago and through our many conversations, I learned that my mother may not have had the best of everything, but she certainly did the best with what she had.

My mom grew up during the Depression, and though times were tough, her parents made sure the kids never went hungry. Grandpa trapped squirrels and caught catfish from the river.  She told me that there were several times her parents went without meals so she and her brother had enough to eat.

She said she started working when she was 11, at a downtown laundry business. She remembered how they had to take salt pills because they sweated so much.

She found herself having to carry the burden when my dad was in a terrible car accident when I was 4. He nearly died, and couldn’t work for a year. With nine kids to feed, she worked nights and took care of the family and my dad during the day. She worked until she was 63, and traveled with my dad to exotic destinations before my dad became sick.

“I miss him everyday,” she told me one time, as she gazed at his picture sitting next her on the table. “But sometimes I feel like he’ s still here.”

This woman, who means the world to me, who picked me up when I fell, who dried my tears after breaking up with a boyfriend, who shared my happiness on my wedding day and over the birth of my children, who encouraged me when I didn’t think I could go on, who always taught me to be the best person I could be….

…this beautiful woman, proved to me time and again, what it means to be a mother.

It means sacrificing your happiness so your children could have a better life. It means going without, so your kids could have new clothes to start school.

Being a mother means being there when your child needs you. It means spending sleepless nights worrying about their well-being. It means never, ever forgetting what it means to be a mother.

My mother taught me well.

Though her anger and sadness seem to cloud over her love for life, she is still the loving and devoted mother she has always been.

My mom and I don’t always agree on everything, and I doubt we ever will. But I know that she loves me and would do anything for me. Now I have the opportunity to show my appreciation by being here for her.

Mother’s Day is not just a day to recognize and celebrate my mom, because I celebrate her everyday.

But rather, it’s a day to remember why we become mothers in the first place and to pass on that love only a  mother can give, and only a mother can receive.

The love between a mother and child-the love that lives forever.