IT’S THE SECOND Sunday of May—Mother’s Day! This is the day designated to honor mothers all over the world. Cyberspace and all telephone lines are clogged today with calls and greetings from thoughtful sons and daughters who have taken the time to greet their moms a Happy Mother’s Day.
Card shops will make money. Florists’ sales may equal if not surpass Valentine’s Day. Red and white carnations will be their top sellers.
The tradition of celebrating mothers is observed in more than 70 countries around the world. In the United States, Mother’s Day has become a $16 billion industry.
Everyone remembers mom today. She will be pampered, serenaded, e-mailed, tweeted and texted. The post office may run out of postage stamps, a rarity in these days of Facebook, Skype and cell phones.
Moms the world over won’t do any housework. It is their day to sit at some snazzy spa and have hair and nails primped and polished. The children will take over the chores while Mom is treated to a body massage.
At my youngest daughter’s house in Florida, two girls ages 15 and 12 will serve her breakfast in bed as they have every year. While the daddy watches, they will cook pancakes and bacon, her favorites. Of course she’ll be thrilled. Never mind that there are batter spills all over her kitchen floor.
Dia de las Mamas was not too big a deal at our house when we were growing up. I wish it had been. But advertising and marketing were tame in those days and the influence of Mother’s Day (American style) had not quite crossed the ocean.
My Mama has been home with the Lord for five decades now, but tears are hard to check when I roam the aisles of a Hallmark shop overflowing with Mother’s Day cards. How I wish I had been thoughtful enough then to tell her what was in my heart. How sad it is that some of us wait too long.
Star of the show
Mom is the star of the show today. The spotlight shines on her, and nobody else. Children in nursery and kindergarten create greeting cards sticky with paste and splattered with finger paint. This is pure, unaffected and unadulterated love immortalized on sketchpad paper, drawn with newly sharpened crayons. Poster board and colored pencils are indispensable for projects all dedicated to Mom.
Those were the days. I remember them well.
One of my sons dreamed of becoming an architect. In the second grade, one Mother’s Day, he made me a two-story cardboard house; banisters on the stairs, and windows on all sides. It was a promise of times to come. Today I live in such a house, attached to his, where we share our “alone time” whenever possible.
I remember my eldest son, fresh out of college, bought me a beautiful “tatak” suit. I loved it. But it was many sizes too small for me. In his eyes, I was this shapely babe who wore a size 4. That was so sweet. I exchanged it for a pretty pink muumuu and wore it to my Mother’s Day dinner that night in a steak house by the beach.
My daughters, now mothers themselves, shower love on me especially on Mother’s Day, sending greetings, flowers, pretty gifts and invitations to lunch or dinner. They are extra thoughtful and solicitous.
As I watch them raise their children, I am amused to hear the same things I told them a long time ago—well, perhaps with some changes. Where I was harsh, they have developed a softer tone of voice. It’s amazing how the words are just as effective.
On Mother’s Day, the most beautiful expressions of love ever written are not by the poets of old or best selling card-makers, but by the children whose handwriting and spelling scores once gave us minor heart attacks.
I have searched in vain for a Mother’s Day card from a mother to her children, telling them how great it is to be their mom.
Indulge me as I write a message to my four daughters and two sons.
As a new mom, I was not home much. I was still in school and had many friends. I guess I thought it was all fun and games. Please understand that I was just a child myself. These are not excuses. Just facts.
I made some reckless choices. I wonder if my mistakes have taught you anything. Have they served as markers as you make your way through life? Or have they marked you for life? Often when you speak, I think I hear echoes of the pain I caused.
You have filled my life with the music of angels. You have taught me to how to laugh, how to live. You fill me with joy, pride and satisfaction, and these will stay in my heart for the rest of my life.
As I struggle to put the past in its proper perspective and try not to look back, I realize that you have given me reason and the resolve to look forward.
When you were growing up, was I too strict and unbending? Did I put up too many rules? I won’t apologize for that. I see how well you have turned out. But I am sorry for the anguish I made you feel.
It would have been easy to let you have your way. But I dreaded the consequences more than I feared your displeasure or resentment.
Even now, as old as I am (and as old as you are) I still have words that you need to hear. I am always eager to tell you, to teach you about life. I have traveled the same path and I know I can’t remove the obstacles, but I want to light your way.
Lastly, on Mother’s Day let me tell you that being your mother makes me the proudest, happiest, and most grateful human being on the face of this earth. Thank you for your love. You will always have mine.
This is my prayer:
Lord, You have truly blessed me! You entrusted me with the lives of six unbelievably beautiful human beings. Thank you for giving me the joy of being their mother. I may not have been the best. But Lord, you know I have tried.