There are so many signposts of where you are on life's journey but for a very powerful one that can be so personal, consider these five signposts:
You can tell where you are in your life by how you celebrate Mother's day.
If you are making a card in crayon, you're at the start of your Mother's days.
If you are borrowing the keys to the car, you're in the teen years.
When you forget to get your Mom a Mothers day card and get that "I'm not hurt, just disappointed" call from your dad; that's probably your twenties.
When you bring home that special girl on Mother's day, you're just asking for trouble, but when that special girl becomes your wife and you bring your first-born over to your mom's house, that is a truly special Mother's day.
One day, before you expect it, you get to the place where me, my brother and my sister are. Where every subsequent Mother's day has a different sort of sadness. Why is the first year different from the fifth year and why does this twelfth Mother's day without mom feel completely different? I'm not entirely sure. I can't find any wiki articles on it and forget Walt Whitman on the subject.
So, hopefully, your are still in one of the first four stages I mentioned above and if you are, I'd like to share with you what I know now and wish I had known much earlier in my life:
A mother should be appreciated every day in every way for the unconditional love she gives.
She should be loved and appreciated for who she is each day of the week. It's so easy to get annoyed when your mom tells you for the millionth time something you know you shouldn't do but you do anyways. And those e-magazines she reads! Please!
Also, how would you ever find anything if she didn't pick it up and put it back when you leave it on the counter for more than three seconds? And what's with her and fingerprints? If they're good enough for J. Edgar Hoover, they're good enough for the stainless steel fridge!
Then I remember the time I had that awful cold and she came by, brought me chicken soup (eight gallons of it) and proceeded to complain about how messy my place was. (Sigh) I miss those days. You're never too old to be taken care of by your mom.
For me, it's been over twelve years now since I was last able to talk to her. Twelve years where the only time I get to hear her voice is on the one video I took in that last year. I know she's around me. I feel her presence. Sometimes on my birthday, one of her old birthday cards to me pops out of nowhere. It's easy and logical to scoff at that being Ma reaching out, but it feels better to believe.
To all the moms out there: thanks. And to all of you who still have your mom, take it from me, every day is precious. Don't sweat the small stuff. Smile and say: "OK, Ma" when she bugs you to straighten up. She's special and there's no one like your mom.
One more thing: Chronicle your mom's life. Video her talking about her past, your family births, her family and how they got wherever you are... and most importantly, write down your favorite recipes of hers'. My mom's Latkas are gone forever and it's something I miss every year.
Happy Mothers Day to all of you!
Happy Mother's Day, Ma. Wherever you are. We miss you... Love, your son Ken.
p.s. Helena (my wife) is now in charge of fingerprints.
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