With my mother passing away almost six years ago, Mother's Day just isn't the same anymore. When we were little we'd make her “home made” cards and pick some flowers – usually yellow dandelions (we didn't know the difference). One of my older sisters would bake a cake or cookies.
Regardless of the holiday, Mom would never celebrate without having us kids around to share. And she'd never think of eating out without us tagging along. She loved the special attention, but to her, Mother's Day was still like any other day raising her brood. Of course, as we got older those gifts became more sophisticated, costing a lot more than before. But we didn't care. Nothing was too good for the best mother on earth.
Like the rest of my siblings and me, Mom was also raised on a farm. One of ten, she also loved the great outdoors. Whenever the chance arose, she'd join us in hiking, climbing trees or in our many fishing escapades. I loved having her along and often would let her use my good fishing rod and reel while I used a makeshift willow rod harvested from a nearby tree.
As I matured, so did the gifts. That is except for one Mother's Day when I decided to buy her the ultimate; a new rod, reel, and bait holder along with her fishing license. When I told the rest of my siblings what my Mother's Day gift was, they looked at me as if I were a few marbles shy of a baker's dozen, especially my two older sisters. Later, I discovered my younger brothers thought it was a “pretty cool” idea, but feared saying so in front of their older sisters.
The next time I visited, I asked Mom how the fishing was going. “Don't know,” she answered quickly while placing an apple pie in the oven. “Haven't been doing much.”
“Don't you like the fishing gear I got you?” I queried, surprisingly. “Is there something wrong with the reel? The rod? The bait box? Anything?”
She thought quietly while slicing a piece of homemade, latticed top, cherry pie for me, then commented slowly, “Don't reckon so. It's just that I don't have 'em anymore.”
“What do you mean you 'don't have them anymore'? What happened to them? Where did they go? Did you misplace them?” Bewildered, the questions popped out as fast as they formed in my mind.
“Nope,” she replied as she poured me a cup of coffee. “A big 'un got 'em. Took 'em hook, line, sinker, rod, reel and bait. Took 'em in one chomp. Biggest rainbow trout I ever did see. Ain't seen 'em since; the fishing gear nor the fish.”
Satisfied that she finally perfected the anglers' art of fish story entertainment, the next Mother's Day I switched tactics and bought her a single strand of white pearls in a necklace with matching earrings and a corsage for Sunday Mass. Not surprisingly this met with two thumbs up from all my sisters and two thumbs down from my brothers. From that point on I kept fishing gear gifts for the men in the family and for the women, especially Mom, gifts more appropriately suited. Ah, memories! What I'd give to be able to buy her a nice gift this year; and a corsage, too.
The more time this priceless lady's passing away stretches, the more I miss her. Just think. She gave us life, nourished us, took care of us when we were ill, nursed us back to health, taught us about life, death, God and the hereafter, passed on her delicious recipes to us, with no remuneration served as a babysitter for her grandchildren and so much more it would be impossible to list them all.
And all we ever do for her is either remember or memorialize her once a year. It should be at least twice. No, make that once each season, or even once a month. Better yet, make it once a week. On second thought we ought to call her up every day and let her know how much we love and miss her. Or say a prayer to her. Remind her how she taught us that we'll see each other again.
For all she's done for us, that's a small price to pay. A very small price.
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