Sometimes I need to be reminded of a few things so I don’t forget. Memories I blogged and lessons learned. (This was originally posted in May, 2011)
This post has been floating around in my head for at least a year now……that’s right a year, seriously. I might as well say up front, it probably still won’t come across the way I want it to, but I figure it’s been floating around in there so long, I may need the space that this has taken up for some other things, and so it is time to just “word dump” it so to speak.
What has been floating around in there?
Gee, I can almost feel the laughter and general overall snickers that are coming through right now at that question – however, I shall laugh at myself along with you because I know that at any particular time I am completely random.
What I am referring to is Mother’s Day.
Why, you might wonder would I ponder on that for so long?
Mother’s Day has evoked many emotions in me over the years. (I suspect it has in many, well, at least that is the general feeling I get when the topic is brought up. I mean you can get some pretty strong reactions sometimes).
So….pretty much that is what I’ve been thinking about….all those emotions I’ve felt.
When I was younger, being raised as a Jehovah’s Witness we didn’t celebrate any holidays or birthdays. That is just the way it was and still is for JW’s as far as I know. I didn’t think about holidays or celebrations until I was old enough to think about what “I” was missing. So, quite frankly since “I” wasn’t involved when I was younger, Mother’s Day wasn’t even in my radar. I don’t know if my Mother did anything to acknowledge Mother’s Day to my Grandmother after she converted to being a JW to marry my Father, because Mom was not raised a JW. Since Mom and Grandmom are gone, I can’t ask. I’d like to think she did, they were close, but as Gus said in the movie Big Fat Greek Wedding “I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know.”
Sigh. I’d like to know the answer to that question.
When I was young I was taught how to play the piano by my Great-Grandmother. One of the pieces of music that my Mom inherited at my Great-Grandmother’s death was a piece titled “Mother”. My Mom told me that she sang that piece to her mother at church one time when she was around 12. I remembered that. I liked knowing that. After my Great-Grandmother’s death I used to play that and some other pieces in the basement on the old upright piano that Grammie taught me on. That old piece of sheet music is worn and tattered. I have it. I haven’t played it in a while, the paper is very fragile. I hear the words and music sometimes and it brings back memories of me playing it in the basement. I know that my Mom used to listen to me playing the piano upstairs over an intercom that we had. Sometimes I would sing along on that song.
I like to think she heard me singing to her.
When I moved out of the house in my early 20’s, started living on my own, started living a life that was separate from the JW’s, started finding out who I was, holidays and celebrations became important for me to understand.
While I may have started celebrating holidays and birthdays, I still didn’t do anything to “upset the apple cart” so to speak when it came to my immediate family. I wasn’t “in your face” about it with them.
There are a few exceptions were I celebrated a holiday with my Mom. Mother’s Day was one. Twice she let me acknowledge that day with her. Usually, it was “you know, we don’t celebrate holiday’s”. But twice, she let me. Once was when I said I wanted to take her out to eat with my Grandmother for Mother’s Day. I picked them up and drove them to the Safari restaurant (I wonder if it is still there?) for an early dinner complete with cocktails and conversation. We spent all afternoon together. I don’t remember what we ate, but I can tell you as a struggling single person living in an apartment, that was one credit card purchase I do not regret! I would do it all over again! I can still remember how happy and pleasant that afternoon was for all three of us. I also remember Mom being particularly happy and pleased about the day.
I remember both of their smiles from that day sitting at the table.
The other Mother’s Day she let me acknowledge was close to her death. By then, Craig and I were a couple, and I remember Craig and I stopped to visit her and I took her a pink sweater. This was the Mother’s Day before she died. I had bought myself one like it in white. I bought her a pink one. I thought the pink one was more cheerful. She needed something cheerful. Maybe I was the one that needed to see something cheerful on her. I don’t know, I don’t know. She said she liked it, and after she died I kept it and the white one I bought for a long, long time.
Eventually, you realize the memories are in your heart and your head, and you can let go of some “things you’re holding on to”. I don’t remember when I gave away the sweaters, but one day I did, I didn’t need them anymore.
Mother’s Day after that I continued to celebrate with my Grandmother who had always been someone that I enjoyed celebrating holidays and birthdays with. She was such a blessing and joy throughout my whole life. (I’ve talked about her and her influence in one of my previous blogs here).
Becoming first a step-mother and than having babies changed the way I thought about Mother’s Day. It made me look at things differently. I was blessed to have my Grandmother with me during my early days as a Mom. She did her best to keep me grounded. She was the matriarch of the family. She was my mentor. She is with Jesus.
I confess though, there was a time when Mother’s Day evoked a not so nice emotion
…….jealously, greed, envy.
Sometimes I would see all the hype and hoopla about “this is how it should be” or I would see friends getting treated in a way that I thought was better than I was being treated, or I felt like I was missing out on something because of my situation, and then those sinful feelings would appear. No use pretending that isn’t what those feelings are. Just plain sin.
I didn’t like it. I don’t like to admit it. But it’s true.
So then, I got to thinking, wasn’t I just back to being the kid I was again when I was little? I mean, wasn’t I making it about the “I” again?
What was the origin of Mother’s Day after all? Did or does it have anything to do with the fact of me being a Mom? Why was I thinking about me, and not about my Mom?
The history of the American Celebration of Mother’s Day began with Anna M. Jarvis remembering her mother in 1908. Anna petitioned the church where her mother had taught Sunday School for over 20 years to have a day to celebrate Mother’s, to remember her mother and in honor of peace. Her request was honored and on May 10, 1908, the first official Mother’s Day celebration took place at St. Andrew’s Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia and a church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Check out more details here.)
Anna wanted to remember her Mom. Anna never had children of her own. I don’t see that she intended the day to be about that at all. She wasn’t thinking about herself. She was thinking about her Mom.
Now, I know there are a lot of people who love/loved their Moms, but there are just as many that don’t know/knew their Mom’s, or who don’t/didn’t get along with their Mom’s.
hate to say know that I fell/fall in those categories…as a daughter, and as a Mom on some days.
I’ve read blogs about dysfunctional families, (really, don’t we all have them), where they are blasting their Mom’s sometimes, I’ve read blogs where there is a sweet appreciation for what their Mother’s have done for them. I don’t get a sense that they always get along, just that they have grown to appreciate them for the individuals they are. I have friends who don’t know who their Mom’s are, and some who know their Moms, but really don’t like them sometimes. I know some who love their Mom’s dearly. I know friends who have a relationship that can only be defined as cordial with their moms. I know friends who want a deeper relationship with their Mom, but realize that what they have is “all they will get”. I have friends who grieve for lost Moms.
I understand. I have been all these women at times.
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”
God choose my mother. He choose your mother. For a reason. God has our best interests at heart. Does it make sense some days? No. But then we have that pesky human brain always trying to make sense of things.
I need to remind myself at times there are certain things I won’t understand. I need to trust in the wisdom of God.
Mother’s Day. It’s not about me being a Mom. It’s about my Mother.
Yes, society has hyped it up and Anna M. Jarvis herself didn’t like what society had made the day become. In 1923 she filed a law suit against New York Governor Al Smith. She was increasingly concerned over the commercialization of the day in the flower and card industry. (See related link here)
But isn’t that what Satan would like to do with something that’s done in love.…turn it back to sin..make it about stuff, greed, envy and jealously. Oh, he’s ‘good’ at what he does isn’t he?
Well, I’m choosing to make it about the love. I’m choosing to remember the good.
I know my Mother loved me the best she could.
I choose to thank the Lord for giving me the Mother that he gave me and the precious memories that I have.
That is what Mother’s Day is truly about – remembering to thank the Maker for the Mother he choose for you. I was blessed to have her. I was doubly blessed to have a truly wonderful Grandmother who filled that role in my life in so many ways.
Thank you Lord for the blessings you have given me in life.
Here’s in remembrance of you Mom, Happy Mother’s Day! Here’s the original and at the end is a fun version that really, well, just makes me smile! Cause when you are thinking of blessings, you just have to smile!
M-O-T-H-E-R – A word that means the world to me.
Words by Howard Johnson. Music by Theodore Morse
I’ve been around the world, you bet, But never went to school, Hard knocks are all I seem to get, Perhaps I’ve been a fool; But still, some educated folks, supposed to be so swell, Would fail, if they were called upon a simple word to spell. Now if you’d like to put me to a test, – There’s one dear name that I can spell the best: –
“M” is for the million things she gave me, “O” means only that she’s growing old, “T” is for the tears were shed to save me, “H” is for her heart of purest gold; – “E” is for her eyes, with love-light shining, “R” means right, and right she’ll always be, – Put them all together, they spell “MOTHER”, a word that means the world to me.
When I was but a baby, long before I learned to walk, While lying in my cradle, I would try my best to talk; It wasn’t long, before I spoke, and what the neighbors heard, My folks were very proud of me, for “Mother” was the word. Although I’ll never lay a claim to fame, I’m satisfied that I can spell the name.
“M” is for the mercy she possesses, “O” means that I am never on my own, “T” is for her tender sweet caresses, “H” is for her hands that made a home, “E” means everything she’s done to help me, “R” means real and regular, you see, Put them all together, they spell “MOTHER”, a word that means the world to me.
These guys are great! The Skit Guys version of the tune above.