This marks the fifth year that I have revised and updated my traditional Mothers' Day post. If you've read it before, you may want to see if you recognize the changes ... oh, and the last part is different from last year.
Today is Mothers’ Day, the one day each year we set aside to honor the lady we undervalue the other 364. It’s the day we remember the person who made our hurts better, explained our homework, cooked our meals, washed our clothes, drove us where we needed to go, warned us about our less-savory acquaintances, embarrassed us in front of our friends, and did her best to point us down the straight line of a moral and upright life.
Mothers are the wonderful and woefully underappreciated people from whom the Army and the Navy stole their one-time recruiting slogans - the Army's "We do more before 9 AM than most people do all day," and the Navy's "It's not just a job, it's an adventure." With all due respect to Soldiers and Sailors everywhere ... you guys ain't got a clue.
Somewhere in my web surfings I found this little riff on how we look at our Mothers at different ages:
Age 4: Mommy can do anything!
Age 8: Mom knows a lot!
Age 12: Mother doesn't know everything.
Age 14: Mother doesn't know anything.
Age 16: Mother is so old-fashioned.
Age 18: Her? She's out of it.
Age 25: Mom might know something about that.
Age 35: Before we decide, let's ask Mom.
Age 45: What would Mom have thought about that?
Age 65: I wish I could talk that over with Mom.
My mother passed away eleven years ago at the age of 74. She spent a long and honorable life raising four children who, I like to think, made her proud. And in her twilight years, her once-formidable mind ravaged by Alzheimer’s Disease, she missed much of the result of her love and care and sacrifice – a son who finally knows how to dance (and who may yet write that book she thought he had in him), a small army of grandchildren, and five beautiful great-grandchildren who will never know her love and wisdom and the off-the-wall sense of humor that brightened the lives of those who knew her.
The next generation of Mothers has taken over. My beloved daughter Yasmin and the best daughter-in-law in the world, Tabitha, between them are raising the world’s five greatest grandchildren (with a sixth on the way!). And someday those wonderful grandchildren will sit down on Mothers’ Day and reflect – just as their grandpa does today – on the marvelous lady who gave up so much of her own life and dreams to make them who they are.
Take the time today to give your Mother a hug and a kiss. Someday, you’ll wish you had.
And so again this year, I wish my own Agnes, Yasmin and Tabitha, Amanda and Fiona, Raquel, SuzyQ, Chrissy, Kathy, Miss Cellania, and all the other mothers out there doing the world's toughest job, a very happy Mothers' Day and many more to come.
We couldn't be what we are, or do what we do, without you.
And, just to not be too maudlin about it, here's something all you mothers out there can appreciate:
The Differences Between Motherhood and Prison
At home, you cook three square meals a day and try to get your kids to eat them. You eat their leftovers.
In prison, you get an hour each day in the yard to exercise and mingle.
At home you get to clean the yard up so you can mow it so your kids can spread more toys all over it so that you can go out and clean it again next time you need to mow.
In prison, you get to watch TV, cable even.
At home, you get to listen to your children fight over the remote control and get treated to hours and hours of cartoons and Disney movies thanks to cable and DVDs.
In prison, you can read whatever you want and attend college for free.
At home, you get to read weekly readers starring Dick, Jane, and Spot and worry about how to send your child to college and still be able to eat for the next twenty years.
In prison, all your medical care is free.
At home, you have to pawn your mother's silver and fill out trillions of papers for insurance and hope the doctor will see you before you die.
In prison, if you have visitors, all you do is go to a room, sit, talk and then say good-bye when you are ready or your time is up.
At home, you get to clean for days in advance and then cook and clean up after your guests and hope that they will one day leave.
In prison, you can spend your free time writing letters or just hang out in your own space all day.
At home, you get to clean your space and everyone else's space, too, and what the heck is free time again?
In prison, you get your own personal toilet.
At home, you have to physically hold the bathroom door shut in order to keep from having someone standing over you demanding to know how long till you're done so you can do something for them.
In prison, the prison laundry takes care of all your dirty clothes.
At home, you get to take care of them yourself, plus everybody else's, and get yelled at because somebody's favorite shirt isn't clean.
In prison, they take you everywhere you need to go.
At home, you take everybody else where they need to go.
In prison, the guards transport all your personal effects for you and make sure nothing is missing.
At home, you have to lug around everybody else's stuff in your purse and then wonder who went in it and took your last dollar.
Doesn’t that make you want to go out and do something illegal?
Happy Mothers' Day!
More thoughts tomorrow.