Do mothers ever truly get the respect they deserve for all the things they do? Some do and Mothers Day is an opportunity to remind us of all the wonderful things they did for us, many of which I took for granted and just assumed that is what mothers do.
Now I was one of those kids who, as I look back and reflect on my childhood today, have to say I was really lucky. I was so lucky because I had two moms in a way. My biological mother and my grandmother, which was my mother’s mom. To say I was spoiled would be a major understatement.
When I was in elementary school until I was probably in about 4th grade, my mom would always come to my school on my birthday bringing a cake or cupcakes, and those little Dixie cups with half vanilla and half chocolate ice cream with the little wooden spoon for me and all my classmates. Looking back now, there were not to many other kids who had that but then again, I was too young to realize it. It took me all these years to really think how special that was. Thank you mom!
Then there were those days when all the neighborhood kids got together to play kick the can, football or whatever sort of games the imagination of country kids could conjure up. And when I look back at it, my mom was always preparing some snacks for us. As I write this I have to smile because it’s almost like the show, Leave it to Beaver. My mom making lemonade, or cutting some fresh oranges, bringing them out on the front porch for me and the neighborhood kids. Thank you mom!
Even as I grew older she was always preparing something for me. I’ll never forget the one ceramic plate she bought that said, “Special” on it and whenever my father or I had something such as a birthday, my mom prepared our favorite dish and it was presented on that plate. Lord knows I never got the special plate when report cards were handed out. I am just curious about one thing, while I was at school and dad was at work, did you eat off this plate every day? Because if you didn’t then the plate really was never properly used. Once again it took me all these years to recall that special plate and the way you made dad and I feel so special. Thank you mom!
I even recall the way you made me feel like an adult and how you raised me with manners. I use to love when we went to Mario’s Italian Restaurant and when it was my turn to order, you made me place my own order and wow, you were really patient. I have to laugh now because I recall the wink you always gave the waitress as I ordered. I remember the learning of the proper placement of silverware, what glass to use, how to properly get the attention of our server, how to respect them and how to always get what you want. I remember you making me hold the door for you as we entered the restaurant, pulling out your chair, to stand when you excused yourself and, as I got older that it was my responsibility as a man to order for you. All these things really made no sense back then, but I can tell you now that I am older and have had the privilege of entertaining others at dinner, it was a gift you gave me that has served me well. Thank you mom.
I loved the way you tried to sneak some culture into me by sending me to Europe for 3-weeks. The only thing was, why did you and dad come, was it for the culture or to chaperone all the other kids? Because all the other kids got to do as they pleased and I had to behave. Do you know that all the other kids constantly said, your parents are so cool. Sorry, but I didn’t see that while drinking a coke and they all sucked down wine and staying out until wee hours of the morning. I just want to apologize for drinking everything in the hotel room bar, I assumed it was free. You now understand the confused look on my face during check out when I had to ask you for money. You know what’s funny mom, I now have friends from all over the world and I even recognize many of the city names or cultural centers in which we visited. Thank you mom!
Then there was of course the time at college when you came down and took me, my roommate and a few friends to the Irish Pub for dinner. Leaving home was not the best thing for my palate. Beer, wings and Philly cheese steaks were all I needed. But I didn’t catch it right away when we entered the Irish Pub and the bartenders said, “hey Michael”. I really have no idea how they knew my name, there food wasn’t that great. But of course, as only a mother like you would do, you smiled and moved on. If I had realized you knew at that moment I certainly wouldn’t have ordered a diet Coke. I honestly never once recall any of my friend’s parents coming to town and taking all their friends out to dinner. Thank you mom!
You know that I have to smile when I think of all these things. And what I have to laugh at the most is as being “The Social Chef” I recall one moment that above all things makes me smile. Do you recall in 4th grade during teacher parent conference when you went to meet with Mrs. Martian and my grades were really bad? Because I will never forget it when you came home, yelled at me for not applying myself, sent me to my room. I stood at my door slightly cracked open to listen to hear my fate as you told dad. I could tell you were not happy at all. But then I heard you tell dad, As bad as his grades are I left with a smile. Because Mrs. Martian said that when he excuses himself to go to the bathroom he takes longer than anyone else to return. The reason is as Michael walks down the hall, he stops and waves to every room filled with kids. He said he is the most polite kid. And I will never forget what you said to dad next. How can I be mad at his grades when he is years ahead as a human being. So the ironic thing mom is, I never stopped smiling at people no matter what walk of life, skin color or disabilities and here I am, “The Social Chef”. I have carried that one gift you gave me all my life and that is to smile and be outgoing. That is where you got those huge dimples. Thank you mom.
So today on Mothers Day, I was able to reflect and to simply get lost in my childhood. I regret it took me 46-years to recall all that you have done for me. The reason it took so long is, how can I possibly thank you when it just hits me with yet another memory of something else you taught me or something else you did for me? I could write forever. You gave me the best childhood a kid could ever have. You taught me things that I never knew the motive at the time, but I certainly do now. I am not sure if you ever stopped to realize that the many things you have done for me and have taught me have served me very well. To say how grateful I am is an understatement. Maybe the best compliment you can receive is there has not been a woman who can come close to you and if she did, I would have married her. So on this Mother’s Day, thank you mom!