Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Mother of All Days

Here it comes! That loaded day of the year anticipated by mothers throughout the land... and dreaded by their husbands and children. Yes, if you are a complete recluse and it has caught you unawares, or just a big old procrastinator, it's time to start panicking. Mother's Day weekend is upon us. You will have to pull out your A-game to get something good together by Sunday. Your options are to wow her with a big ticket item, or do the hard work and come up with something touching and thoughtful. The clock is ticking...

Perhaps dread is a little strong, but it's certainly a daunting challenge to distill the love and devotion we feel for our mothers into one single day of appreciation. Can cards and a flower sum up our affection? A day at the spa?  Breakfast in bed? Dinner and a movie? All of these are nice choices that would score solid points in my book. Some Moms like to be showered with affection on their day while others prefer a day of peace and solitude - a "me" day. When my kids were little and perpetually underfoot, the idea of even a half day to myself was pure nirvana. Now that they are beginning to assert their independence and find reasons NOT to be around me, I'm more needy of their attention on my day.

For those with kids in pre-school and elementary school, you can always count on a sweet keepsake on that front. I have an assortment of handprint paintings, bouquets of flowers made from traced hands and feet, shadow silhouettes, personalized plates, bronzed baby shoes (OK, they're really old tiny Keds tennis shoes painted gold, but crazy cute). The list goes on and on. I've got to hand it to the teachers at Anchors-A-Wee and Cape Elementary for some very touching mementos that the kids were always proud to bring home.

Well, those days are behind us in this household. Middle school teachers understandably have no time for stroking Mom, so the kids are on their own to show us the love. Luckily for mine, I have no grand expectations for Mother's Day. If they produce a card and treat me to one less eye roll and a decrease in the bickering on Sunday, I will be satisfied. Plus, they are covered by their Dad who always comes through with a dynamite Mother's Day (which is all terrific in May, but come June and Father's Day, the pressure is on to return the gesture...).

Actually, I think the plan shaping up for this Sunday is our first family day out on the water for the year. If weather permits, we will take the boat out to do a little trolling for rockfish and then head into Annapolis/Ego Alley for lunch - a perfect Mother's Day outing in my estimation - one that traps my children within reach for a few hours. If they misbehave or drive me insane, I can always dump them overboard...

Wishing all you Cape Moms a lovely day on Sunday. You have certainly earned it. What do all of you have planned? What is your idea of the perfect way to spend Mother's Day? What's the best Mother's Day gift you ever received? What's the worst? Any classic Mother's Day disasters to share (I'm recalling one year when I was a child with my brother going to the emergency room for stitches - surely a winner for my Mom).

Speaking of my Mom, a quick shout out to Millie George, who continues to set the standard by which I measure myself each and every day. I have matched her on some fronts, but I will never equal the full body of work or make it look as effortless as she did and does. Love you, Mom!

Mom and me (think the tub is a pea-shelling pan).

Here are a few quotes I dug up (well, cut and pasted) about mothers and motherhood - my gift to you.  Send me any others that resonate.

A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie.  ~Tenneva Jordan

A suburban mother's role is to deliver children obstetrically once, and by car forever after.  ~Peter De Vries

The moment a child is born, the mother is also born.  She never existed before.  The woman existed, but the mother, never.  A mother is something absolutely new.  ~Rajneesh

A man loves his sweetheart the most, his wife the best, but his mother the longest.  ~Irish Proverb

Before I got married I had six theories about bringing up children; now I have six children, and no theories.  ~John Wilmot

It kills you to see them grow up.  But I guess it would kill you quicker if they didn't.  ~Barbara Kingsolver

On Mother's Day I have written a poem for you.  In the interest of poetic economy and truth, I have succeeded in concentrating my deepest feelings and beliefs into two perfectly crafted lines:  You're my mother, I would have no other!  ~Forest Houtenschil

Mothers are fonder than fathers of their children because they are more certain they are their own.  ~Aristotle

Sing out loud in the car even, or especially, if it embarrasses your children.  ~Marilyn Penland

There is only one pretty child in the world, and every mother has it.  ~Chinese Proverb

Your responsibility as a parent is not as great as you might imagine.  You need not supply the world with the next conqueror of disease or major motion-picture star.  If your child simply grows up to be someone who does not use the word "collectible" as a noun, you can consider yourself an unqualified success.  ~Fran Lebowitz

I want my children to have all the things I couldn't afford. Then I want to move in with them.  ~Phyllis Diller

My mother never saw the irony in calling me a son-of-a-bitch.  ~Jack Nicholson

Oh, the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person, having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all out, just as they are, chaff and grain together, certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and with a breath of kindness blow the rest away.  ~Dinah Craik

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