Saturday, May 7, 2016

Mother's Day is Sacred, but Some of the Presents are Not

If I sound like I'm boasting, then that is just too bad, because I have the best Mom in the world. Some of you may try to disagree since you are fond of your own mothers (but you'd be wrong). Sorry.

One of my favorite photos of my Mom
Mother's Day is upon us and if you live 3 states and 10 hours away like I do, then celebrating the holiday in person can be a challenge. And let's be honest, almost anything delivered by a stranger seems kinda impersonal.

Back in the old days, kids used to make treasures for their mothers at school. I am not sure that they do this anymore, but there's probably "an app for that", which will send a text to your Mom in emojis.

My Mom treasured our childhood creations beyond measure and perhaps even sanity. When we were moving my Mom into her new apartment I remember seeing a brown lump in her display case. I said "Mom, I hate to tell you this, but the cat got into your cabinet and made a #2 on shelf #3." Apparently, it was not the cat's creation but something that I made in kindergarten from clay. It was a dead ringer for a turd so the mistake was natural.

However, that was not the worst present that I ever made for her. At summer camp I found a twisted piece of wood and decided to carve an animal for her. After hours of whittling, my masterpiece of an elephant was complete. Years later she told me that her friends always got a chuckle from seeing the elephant that had a human phallus for a nose. I guess I put a bit too much detail into that part of the sculpture, but my Mom displayed it for years on the living room shelf. Talk about supporting the arts in the face of critics! Thanks Mom!

I think that Mother's Day is a great invention because ungrateful children might overlook the sacrifices that their mothers made for them. I'm not even talking about basket-ball sized bellies for 9 months or the thousands of diaper changes. It goes deeper than that because raising a child through adulthood is even harder than carrying a half-baked baby.

Mothers are the defenders, caretakers, teachers, nurturers, disciplinarians, moral compasses and role models for us growing up. Without a woman's more sensitive influence on our upbringing, we might still act like a bunch of knuckle-dragging Neanderthals.

Mothers turn us into better adults, or at least they try their hardest. No teacher, coach, boss or priest cares more about a child's happiness or success than a mother. I don't know the science behind this, but I have a feeling that it has something to do with protecting your own. I can prove this with the example that parents are willing to try a lot harder with their own kids than someone else's "brats". Don't say that out loud, but you might agree internally. Is that too honest? hmmm.....

I personally owe everything that I have to my parents. While I look like my father and have similar mannerisms, I owe just as much of my personality to my mother. I am not even sure that she knows how much she influenced me so I am going to set the record straight.

I have written over 500 blog articles for this blog, and my Watch Hunter blog and I inherited my love of the written word from my Mom. She is sharp as a tack and does not miss a beat. She can tell you a story in such great detail that you can skip the book and the movie too.

My mom brings people together always introducing people in a way that breaks down walls. Both my mother and father allowed all kinds of folks into our home at different occasions. They did not cast stones upon people who might be on hard times or had made mistakes in their lives. They did not see race or class as a barrier and interacted with everyone who visited with the same "make yourself at home" treatment. I try my hardest to follow their example.

I experienced compassion from my mother and learned what a powerful tool empathy could be. In fact, I have never met another like her who would go so far out on a limb to help. Even when that limb was cracking under the strain, she would keep pushing further out to save the other person.

A vivid memory comes to mind from my childhood. My Mom had befriended a coworker who became very ill, in fact, deathly so. For months she would visit him in the hospital when all of his friends and family had abandoned him. It was not a pleasant experience for her because this young man understandably went through all the stages of someone who is faced with his own mortality. He often took his rage, sorrow and manic energy out on her... the only person who gave a damn. It was the early 1980's and this new thing called AIDS was killing gay men in epidemic proportions.

My mother brought us children to the hospital one day to visit Kerry in the later stages of his disease. The skeleton before us with purple bruises all over his body was terrifying and pitiful to my young eyes. I witnessed the great sadness and caring for this stranger that my mother had. By example she showed that sacrificing time, effort and love can be more powerful medicine than what comes in a bottle. She showed that compassion is the medicine for the soul.

My Mom taught me how to laugh... and boy, do we have a good time. Because my father was such a wildcard with a bigger-than-life personality, the wit and cleverness of my Mom's funny bone was often overshadowed. I really don't think people know how hilarious she is. Perhaps, I think this because I can tell her brutally honest observations that I call "jokes" and she gets them, and then tells me that I am a bad boy... but still laughs. We have many for-your-ears-only inside jokes that I don't necessarily share with others... they would clog up their P.C. filters.

I think that I have just scratched the surface, but this is an article, not a book. Just take my word that my Mom, Carol Hughes, is an American original as great as blue jeans, apple pie and rock 'n roll. So, Mom, have a happy Mother's Day. The flowers in this article were stolen right from my own yard in Atlanta and are waiting for you to see them in person. These digital flowers will never fade and never need watering.

Escorting my Mom at a wedding. I think I might have feinted during the ceremony.... oops.