Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Mother's Day: It's all about family

5/5/10 Chatterbox
Betty Kaiser

Mother’s Day: It’s all about family

As a mother and a grandmother I know that the Mother’s Day celebrations depicted on television are just creative hype. Unless you’ve got Martha Stewart living at your house, the day is wonderful but chaotic. Real life is real different that a television set or movie studio.

My Mother’s Day morning as a real mom of three real kids under the age of four years old went something like this: I would coax the kids out of bed and feed them cold cereal for breakfast. Sticky hands and faces were washed before they were dressed in their Sunday best; hair was combed and they plopped down in front of cartoons while I got dressed.

I seldom got my teeth brushed before an argument would inevitably ensue. Then, between the time I fluffed my hair and put on my stylish hat, one of the boys would run outside, fall down and rip out the knees of his new Sunday pants.

Somehow all five of us got out the door (after I was presented with a corsage) and into the car. As my husband drove, I would pull out a bottle of nail polish and ‘do’ my nails, praying they would be dry by the time we got to church. Mother’s Day was underway.

After church, our extended family would meet for lunch at a place of my mother’s choosing — usually a steak house. There the boys would crawl around under the table and generally cause mayhem and madness until the main course arrived. During lunch we mothers opened gifts that the children (guided by their father) had purchased at the dime store. Later we went to dinner at my in-law’s house before we all went home and collapsed. That was a ‘real’ Mother’s Day!

Of course, every family is different. So I asked a few other mothers of all ages about their Mother’s Day highlights.

“Mother's Day has never been very big around our house because we lived so far away from both our Mothers during most of our marriage. And the situation is pretty much the same with my children. My husband usually gives me a plant for Mother's Day and my children send me cards. In other words, Mother's Day isn't a very significant holiday for me.

“My all time favorite Mother's Day experience happened many years ago when my parents drove from their home in Kentucky to visit us in Seattle. Mother's Day weekend we took them up to Victoria, BC on the ferry, and spent most of Mother's Day at Buchardt Gardens, wandering all the paths and indulging in High Tea.” Neysa

“Mother's Day makes me rather sad that both my Mom and Jim's Mom are deceased. Since all my children live outside of Oregon it makes me miss them more. “My ideal Mother's Day will be, Lord willing, in July, when I'm with my children and grandchildren. All my children and all but one of my grandchildren plan on coming to our house. Great!” Sharron

“I gave up my seat to others who showed up in Church on Mother's Day and Easter. I was at Lake Powell reclining on the back deck of our houseboat, breakfasting on coffee, fruit and croissants. Our minister always gave his Mother's Day sermon in October — Just to keep everybody on their toes.” Lynn

“My favorite Mother’s Day will be this year celebrating Matthew’s Eagle Scout award and having my parents here! An ideal Mother’s Day at this point in my life with teenagers, college, volunteering and having a puppy would be to sleep ALL day and get up until the next day — unless of course, there would be chocolate waiting.” Kathy Sue (my daughter with a firefighter husband!))

“It isn't always the elaborate china setting or the selected/thoughtful gifts of expense that capture our memories of a good Mother's Day; but something subtle or heart-felt and not so pretty that are memories tucked away in our memory file. To that end what slides out from that file is a Mother's Day when my eldest daughter was 7 or 8 years old. She went to the local dime store and selected a pair of earrings for dear ole Mother.

“With a smile of pleasure and excitement Kim handed me the roughly wrapped gift. With enthusiasm I removed the ribbon and gift paper, then tilted the lid to the little white box. There I proved to be an actress extraordinaire. For nestled in cotton was the ugliest pair of purple glass earrings I'd ever seen. Giving a smile and a hug to the proud giver, I thanked her heartily. Kim was pleased. I did manage to wear them one time, and made sure she knew it. Of course, that day I never left the house. But, it was a great memory that I'll cherish since this was a gift from the heart." Charlene

And finally, we have a queen for a day experience:
“Mother’s Day is one of my favorite days of the year. It’s the day when I am deemed, ‘Queen for the Day!’ My husband started this when our first son was born 15 years ago. We begin the day going to church (he’s the pastor) and then off to brunch at any place I desire. No prep or dishes. It’s already a great day.

“After brunch we go home where I take a nap and read the newspaper. The rest of the day is spent doing whatever I want to do. Last year we all sat down and watched princess movies. That was quite a sacrifice for my husband and our 6, 11 and 14 year old sons. Dinner is my choice as well. The guys cook, clean and do the dishes while I watch home decorating shows! As the day ends I kiss all my sweet prince’ s faces, put my feet up and ponder my day. Ahhh … it’s good to be queen — and mom!” Betsy (my daughter-in-law)

It’s obvious from these comments that Mom’s happiness is all about family — being together, sharing a meal, loving and appreciating one another as well her. Presents are optional. Warm memories are mandatory. Enjoy the day!

Betty Kaiser’s Chatterbox is about people, places, family, and other matters of the heart. 
Read her columns weekly in the Cottage Grove Sentinel

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