Two important days are coming up that have forever changed. My mother was born May 4, 1926 in Uhrichsville, Ohio. We celebrated her 83rd birthday last year in the Cardiac Care unit of Mercy Hospital with a small cup of jell-o and warm broth. That was to be her last birthday celebration.
The second day that has changed will be Mothers Day. It was a special day for her, mostly because she had lost her own mother while a freshman in high school. She took over as the mother for her family, especially her younger sister, Joyce who was six years old when Edith died.
Alice put her own life on hold to care for her dad, younger brother and Joyce. As a result she did not marry until she was 31 years old, quite a late bloomer for 1957.
This will be the first time in 51 years that she has not been here to celebrate with us. I am not sad, but rather feel fortunate to have had her for so many years.
My sister in law died on December 5, 1998 during a routine surgical procedure. She left behind a teenage daughter. My niece, Kay, now works at a special day care facility for the US Army that takes care of children from military families on base who have lost a parent while deployed overseas.
She knows, as these children do, the value of a mother and why the day we honor them is special.
My mom always appreciated this article by Erma Bombeck and we often included it in our cards for Mothers Day.
It is entitled, 'When God created mothers'
When the good Lord was creating mothers, he was into his sixth day of overtime, when an angel appeared and said, "You're doing a lot of fiddling around on this one.'
And the Lord said, "Have you read the spec on this one? She has to be completely washable, but not plastic; have 180 movable parts, all replaceable; run on black coffee and leftovers; have a lap that disappears when she stands up, a kiss that can cure anything from a broken leg to a disappointed love affair, and six pair of hands.
"The angel shook her head slowly and said, 'Six pairs of hands...no way.'
"It's not the hands that are causing me problems," said the Lord. "It's the three pairs of eyes that mothers have to have."
"That's on the standard model?" asked the angel.
The Lord nodded. "One pair that sees through closed doors when she asks, 'What are you kids doing in there?' when she already knows. Another here, in the back of her head that sees what she shouldn't, but what she has to know, and of course the ones here in front that can look at a child when he goofs up and say, 'I understand and I love you,' without so much as uttering a word."
"Lord," said the angel, touching his sleeve gently, "Rest for now. Tomorrow... "
"I can't," said the Lord. "I'm so close to creating something close to myself. Already I have one who heals herself when she is sick, can feed a family of six on one pound of hamburger and can get a nine year old to stand under a shower.
"The angel circled the model of the mother very slowly. 'She's too soft,' she sighed.
"But tough!" said the Lord excitedly. "You cannot imagine what the mother can do or endure."
"Can she think?"
"Not only think, but she can reason and compromise,ã said the Creator. Finally the angel bent over and ran her finger across the cheek.
"There's a leak,ã she pronounced. "I told you, you were trying to put too much into this model."
"It's not a leak," said the Lord. "It's a tear."
"What's it for?"
"It's for joy, sadness, disappointment, pain, loneliness and pride."
"You're a genius," said the angel. The Lord looked somber, "I didn't put it there."
These kind and generous women are raising our next generation and are due our utmost respect this Mothers Day.
On the dark side of the issue: It is a shame that while most mothers are very special people in our lives - some other mothers are not.
My son in law has a mother who allowed him to be beaten and abused by her husband, a disturbed criminal with which she still lives. Unfortunately he still clings to her and tries in vain to please her and gain the respect of a woman who cared so little for him that she allowed her husband to keep him prisoner in his own room for six months at a time.
My nephew has a mother who is following in her own momma's footsteps, and it is not a good journey that she is taking. She has a long history of neglecting her children, to date she has had three. Allowing other relatives to raise them for most of their lives while she continued to collect, welfare checks for them, food stamps for them and use her child support to live a life of drunken promiscuity.
So if you have a good mother who is still here with you. Please take the time to do something nice for her this Mother's Day. Buy her a card, some flowers, take her to dinner or just stop by and sit with her and talk for a while.
I will stop by my mom's grave next Sunday and drop off some flowers. She never liked cut flowers because they would die too soon, so I will get some potted geraniums for her.