Mom's are someone very special, and we only get one to go around. Sometimes children who lose a parent for whatever reason get lucky, and get a stepmother to help carry the burden, or a foster mother who cares for them, and in them embodies a special love that you won't just find anywhere else.
My mother was a very special person. A brilliant woman, the granddaughter of a Nova Scotia fisherman and a Scottish immigrant, and the daughter of a Maine ship builder and his French Canadian spouse, she worked her way through nursing school in the 1920's when you worked long hours at a hospital to pay your way through school, then slept a few hours and went back to class, and then did it all over again. She worked continuously throughout her life, taking time off to have three children and stay with us during our early years. She was nurturing, caring, and always made sure we were clean, bathed, fed and had good manners.
My mother was the disciplinarian in the house, although it was Dad who put the Fear of God into us if we did wrong. I suppose we'd be just as afraid to offend Mom and make her sad as we would to incur the wrath of Dad. Part of what makes Mom's so special. Mom was the one to yell if I tore my new trousers, yet she would set dutifully to mend them as close to new as she could. Mom was the one who bought the clothes for the kids; Dad bought the toys and the fun stuff. I retrospect, I guess we'd have had toys, but been cold, without the concerted efforts of Mom and Dad together.
My Mom retired from nursing at age 59, having suffered a cerebral thrombosis (blood clot in the brain) about 8 years before. At age 67 Mom began showing signs of what was called Senile Dementia, although we now know for certain that Mom had Alzheimer's Disease. Alzheimer's hadn't even been known at that time; older people who exhibited memory lapses, started forgetting every day important habits were just tagged as having senile dementia, but the symptoms were all classic Alzheimer's when described today. Over the next 4 years Mom declined gradually.
At age 71, Mom died not knowing where she was or why she was there. Alzheimer's had stripped her of her life and her dignity. And nobody could even understand the disease that had taken her down that path. Actually. Mom died from complications of Alzheimer's, congestive heart failure. I still see that small, frail, old lady, holding my arm, and somehow knowing that we were both surely wondering where my mother had gone.
You only get one Mother. Cherish her, love her, be good to her, make her proud of you and the accomplishments you make in life. She helped set the stage for your future. Go out there and be a star. That's all she ever wanted for you, to be a quality person, to have a good life and to excel in all you do. Nothing more and nothing less.
The best gift you will give to your Mother, on this, or any Mother's Day, is love and respect, and being the best person you can be. Because whether she's here to see you, or has passed on, that's all she ever wanted.
To all the Mother's out there:
HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!