On Friday, I asked for you to share your Mother's Day Stories, and share you did! While I would have liked to publish them all, here are some that stood out:
Once when I was eight I fell on my bike and hit my shinbone pretty hard. When I came home, only my Dad was there and he bound it up in about 15 yards of bandage and I felt honored and heroic in my bulky bandage like a homecoming warrior. When my mother came in, she took one look at my heroic bandage, unwrapped it and put on a tiny bit of plaster while telling me to stop fussing. I felt both relieved, a bit silly, and a bit disappointed about this anti-climax but realized that was so my Mom - practical, down-to-earth and totally unflappable. My attempts to emulate her in that respect have so far been highly unsuccessful but I'm trying!
- Helle Sannig, Kemer
My mom. I LOVE my mom. I am the youngest of three girls. My mom had me when she was 26. As the older girls started going to school, we had more time together to get to know each other. She encouraged me to be different and silly and smart and well... the person that I am today. When I didn't think preschool was enough of a challenge, she allowed me to be a preschool drop-out. Whee! Years went by, she went back to school in the seventies and then my parents got divorced and she went out in the real world instead of being a stay at home mom. Things haven't changed that much in our feelings for each other. My grandma, my mom and I had a very symbiotic relationship. Now that my grandma's been gone for almost 9 years, it's up to my mom and me to carry on this weird relationship of mutual friendship and support. She is quite a cool mom to support, too. She's a writer. She's funny. She's an activist. She's a builder. She's open to new ideas and adventures. She's my mom! I love Jonquil Wilson!
Erin, San Diego, CA
When I was in elementary school and our first grade class was preparing for a Thanksgiving Day celebration, our teachers sent home instructions (addressed to classroom mothers,naturally) for making costumes for the festivities. For the boys, there were instructions on how to make Pilgrim hats and "Indian" headdresses. For the girls: Pilgrim bonnets. I hated my bonnet. The boys' hats were tall and stately with a shiny tinfoil buckle. The headdresses boasted brightly colored feathers and beads. The bonnets were, in my 6 year old view, dull as dirt and, besides, they made my ears itch. I asked my mom why there weren't any girl Indians. She was quick to inform me that there were, and that the women in many Native American tribes held places of honor and respect. As she relayed all the stories she knew about Pocahontas and Sacajawea, she realized there was something more she had to do. She called my teacher. She spoke with my school principal. She addressed my class. That year, there were more little girls adorned in Native American garb- by their own choosing- than you would believe.
A month later , Mom took on the "separate but equal" grab bags for December's celebrations. In her lifetime. my mother broke barriers , leaving her more traditional career as a teacher to pursue one in the trades. She has been a liscenced plumber, a member of our State House of Representatives, and a candidate for the National Congress. She has also sung lullabyes, consoled nightmares, mended scraped knees, cheered at soccer matches, made a mean pot roast, and successfully raised three confident, capable, and compassionate human beings. And she's not finished yet. Many of the girls I grew up with had moms who told them they could be anything and do anything when they grew up without limitation: very few of them were lucky enough to have mothers who showed them exactly how that's done.
- Julia, Danbury, CT
When I had my son at the age of 23 I was overwhelmed with what to do with this little person that had just entered my life. I knew the only way I could get through the baby years was to move closer to my mom. After arriving in Albuquerque my mom went into full grandma mode. My son still talks about how she would come and get him every Wednesday for "Doughnut Day" and going to different events like the Albuquerque Balloon Festival with her. I cherish the times we went to Lilith Fair together and also to Universal Studios theme park where I made her go on every ride. She was the type of person that everyone knew and when I still go back to the town she grew up in I always have at least one person say "Aren't you Vicki's daughter?" My mom died five years ago and I guess the thing I miss about her most is when she would show up for a weekend or a week to visit and would just take care of me like she did when I was little. I would come home from work to a clean house, my laundry done and something cooking in the kitchen. You never really grow out of needing to be taken care of sometime. I crave that now and I realize it every time I just need my mom.
Aimee, Missoula, MT
At the age of nineteen my mother, then a single college student in 1954, was a camp counselor taking a group of girls for a morning horseback ride in the mountains. She was thrown, and her spinal cord severed, rendering her paraplegic for the rest of her life. Eventually, after enduring numerous surgeries and excruciating rehabilitation, she returned to college, where she met the man who would soon become her husband, and my father. Growing up, my mother's disability informed my every decision, and greatly influenced my perspective of myself, the world, and my place in it. One day, when I was a college student about the same age as my mother when she sustained her life-changing injury, I lamented to her for the ten thousandth time the fact that when legs were handed out by the gods I was last in line and so got stuck with the short, unattractive ones. She responded to me simply, "Kristine, just be glad they work." I have never forgotten those words, which still echo in my ears more than 20 years after her passing, as I strive to raise my own daughter, who will never know her grandmother except through the stories of her that I will tell.
- Kristine O'Daly, Auburn, CA
My mother is a goddess. No, really. Her given name is Aphrodite, which caused her great humiliation growing up during the melting pot era in the Greektown area of downtown Detroit. So, she goes by the nickname Fritz, which was given to her by her brother during their teens. Fritz can fix anything! In fact, when my friends and I find ourselves trying to solve a home repair problem we say, "What would Fritz do?"
She's 82 now, so she's slowing down a bit, but some of her most recent home repairs are replacing her garbage disposal, taking apart her snowblower and re-attaching a part that came loose, replacing the spark plugs on her lawnmower, and cleaning out her gutters. I could go on. I once helped her replace a toilet, and over the years I've seen her take apart and repair washers, dryers and refrigerators, and perform maintenance and reapairs on numerous family automobiles. When I was in high school, she bought a refrigerator that didn't quite fit where the old one was, so she tore down and rebuilt the wall between the kitchen and family room to make it fit. My mom is a true bad-ass, and I feel lucky to have learned how to be a strong woman from her. She was so proud recently when I emailed photos of a new fence I built all by myself. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.
- CJ Essa, Austin, TX
My mom wasn't just a regular old mom; my mother was a bit radical for the suburban housewife that she was. She had graduated from Berkeley; she listened to jazz, read loads of books, and was an ardent politico. She was anti-war, pro-choice, and believed in civil rights and civil disobedience.
One August morning the gang showed up for another long day of swimming. A few hours later we were barely water logged and my mom came rushing out into the backyard in her bikini and a New Year's Eve party hat whooping it up like a wild banshee. She hollered at us to get out of the pool because we were going to McDonalds! Back in those days going to a fast food joint was a real treat, and not having a clue why she was suddenly struck with the urge to indulge us in burgers, none of us were going to question her motives; we were out of the pool in no time flat.
Still dripping wet, she shuttles us kids into her VW Squareback and tossed us back a box with party favors in it and said, "adorn yourselves kiddos, we're about to celebrate historical justice." We gleefully pulled out streamers and hats, horns and masks, maracas and tambourines and plotted our procession. "Wait a minute mom, what exactly are we celebrating?" I shouted over the festive cacophony. Suddenly, like a power outage, she stopped the car and turned around and got serious with us. "Kids, last night on television President Nixon read his resignation letter, and today - Friday, August 9, 1974 - it is official, he has resigned. Truthfully the SOB should have been impeached, but the humiliation of his resignation is an acceptable start."
We all marched in to McDonald's in our bathing suits and streamers chanting at the top of our lungs, "Nixon resigned, Nixon resigned, ding dong the Dick is dead, Nixon resigned!" My mom gaily called out above our ballyhoo that hamburgers and french fries were on her. I'm sure that all the other Orange County parents at McDonalds that day didn't appreciate my kooky liberal mom; they looked at her with a contemptuous patrician fear for her un-mother-like aplomb. And you know what? She couldn't care less and neither did we; my mom was cool and she cared about what truly mattered.
- Cat Gwynn, Los Angeles, CA
As always, thank you for sharing your stories -- and please, continue to do so in the comments below! How did you celebrate the mother's in your life today?