I can’t remember the first time I celebrated Mother’s Day for my Mom. I vaguely recollect making cards in grade school classes. I found a particularly gaudy and effusive one I bought for her when I was a teenager. Apparently she liked it because she saved it. I don’t think they make cards like that anymore. I hope not. It is something like Victorian era meets Goth red.
I think it is fair to say that my mother was the best thing since sliced bread. Actually, she pre-dated sliced bread, which came onto the market in 1928 and she was still greater than sliced bread – after all, what are bread knives for?
Mom lived through the Great Depression – which is a good thing, since I wasn’t born for some time after and if she hadn’t survived it I would not be writing this. 😉 She had been in “Normals School” (teacher’s college) but she left for Washington, D.C. where she landed a job at the Department of the Interior. It was such a small organization that she got chewed out personally by Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes and kept the letter. It is now in the family archives. He signed it too – no signature machines back then. I’m guessing she wasn’t late for work again – or at least not where he was able to see her not at her desk.
I suspect that because my parents both experienced the Great Depression it molded their frugal personalities. It may also be the reason they didn’t make a whole lot of fuss over any particular holiday that might involve spending money. And certainly, mass consumerism hadn’t hit the US then. I think we went out to eat on Mother’s Day, but I honestly can’t remember. If we did, we probably went to a local buffet where there was lots of cheap food.
My one recollection of gift giving for Mother’s Day was getting my mother a waterfilled paperweight that had an enormous live red rose inside it. She kept it on the ubiquitous – for the era – kidney shaped coffee table in the living room. One day I moved the paper weight and was astonished when all the red came off the rose. Thereafter it became a totally white rose in pink water.
Mom left us all behind in 1977. It was probably the saddest time in anyone’s life in our family to date. She was the glue that held us together. Her calm, warm presence took us through good times and bad. Because of her I could (if I had the space and the desire) create the garden of enormous proportions and know how to maintain and harvest it. And if I were so inclined I could can and freeze the produce, not to mention make jellies and jams. I also know how to tell if tomatoes are “working” with botulism due to a bad seal. Thankfully, none of this happened around Mother’s Day as that would have been a wretched time to celebrate when we were hot and drenched with sweat. Yes, I know the old adage – horses sweat, men perspire, women glow. Just pass me the alfalfa hay cube.
Today my daughter gave me a bouquet of hand-made roses she crocheted and then turned into flowers using florist’s wire, tape, and pink and white ribbons. Today I planted flowers in her garden as she’s still recovering from surgery.
I’d like to think that when my daughter looks back she’ll find things I gifted her with – crocheting, an interest in gardening, an obsession with my original recipe non-bake chocolate cheesecake, and a never say die sort of personality. She may reflect on how growing up with a Hard of Hearing mother caused her to develop a strong voice and wonderful diction if she hoped to be heard and get things like, oh, food. She probably has other thoughts on the matter.
Mothers – and Fathers – we all have ’em, at least biologically. Moms and Dads are something a bit different as they are the folks who raise and love us and sometimes are not biologically related to us. Those of us who don’t have children may look to furbabies or nieces and nephews or kids we’ve taken to our heart to raise. It’s all good.