This year, my Mother’s Day started in April and may not wrap up this Sunday. A mother’s work is never done, so why should the holiday end?
By “holiday,” I don’t mean an occasion marked by brunch with bottomless mimosas or gifts of chocolates and flowers. Those things are nice, but it’s motherhood’s unexpected and challenging moments that matter most, and they’re not limited to the second Sunday in May.
Three days ago, I stopped at Einstein’s Bagels for a half-dozen bagels. At the register, I held six dollar bills in my hand. When the total came to $6 and 40-something cents, I fumbled for the right combination of dimes and nickels before I heard the clerk, a young man, ask for $5 and 70-something cents. I looked up. The words “Senior Discount” screamed at me from the register screen. Ouch!
“How old does a person have to be to get the discount?” (What can I tell you? I’m a masochist and had to know what age the clerk guessed me to be.)
The young man blinked. “Twenty.”
I mentally high-fived him and his mother. Ooh, lady, you raised a good ‘un.
Jennifer Ball, who writes The Happy Hausfrau blog, recently took to task a woman who, in the guise of being helpful, shredded the self-esteem of Ball’s teenage son. In this post, Ball’s in mama bear mode and her message will resonate with everyone who has ever wished for an ally, protector, mom to appear at a vulnerable moment.
My New Jersey-born and bred mother visited me in Texas last month. She ate breakfast tacos, admired the deer in the Hill Country, endured a Houston traffic jam, celebrated my Older Daughter’s birthday, spent time with my best friend, and got acquainted with my cats. Those activities aren’t on anyone’s “Best of the Lone Star State” list, but she participated in them so happily, she made every day a mini-celebration.
The lesson I’m taking from this year’s long and winding Mother’s Day? It’s in the ordinary, everyday moments mothers make the strongest impression. If kids see us ease someone’s embarrassment, leap to someone’s defense, or find joy and purpose in everyday activities, they’re more likely to do the same. Every time a mother handles the tough stuff with grace, she shows the rest of us how it’s done.
Happy Mother’s Day.