Only one thing could keep me from seeing my mom on Mother’s Day today, and it has happened. The dreaded “two stripes,” the “the negative positive” the “bad swab” Yep…COVID. (I caught it spending less than an hour across the table from someone who had tested negative the day before. So be warned. It’s as pesky as ever.)
So…sigh…I can’t yet give my mom the super adorable concrete bunny I got for her garden, but I can give her what I believe ALL MOMS want for every holiday. A sincere “thank you” note, if only to prove to them that we know how to write one.
You see, it’s my belief that gifts are just lazy substitutes for words, and telling people the positive things we know about them are the best starting place.
If you’re lucky enough to still have your mom with you, telling her what she wants to hear can be done in three easy steps:
Tell her she’s a good mom. (Use examples.)
Tell her you heard her when she wasn’t yelling. (Use examples.)
Tell her she’s the coolest. (Use examples.)
And by ‘tell’ her, I mean say it with your mouth, write it down in a letter, or maybe post it on your blog. Let me demonstrate with a letter to my own amazing mom.
I know you had your hands full with six of us kids, a full-time job, and the rent wolf at the door. Still, you did a masterful job of making us all feel safe, loved and resilient. Today with my own two grown children out in the world, I know more than ever that you were a great mom to little kids, and you’re a great mom to grown-up people.
From the Christmas of 1969 when EVERYBODY GOT WHEELS (Baltimore Street did not know what hit it.) to the Christmas of 2018, you made every holiday warm and fun.
Whether you knew it or not, Mom, I heard most everything you said. Sometimes you weren’t talking directly to me, and sometimes you weren’t even talking. But I heard how to be a good person and how to make my dreams come true.
You told me to do the right thing, to protect my spirit, and to keep an open mind.
You told me to make things, to take care of things and to fix things when they were broken. I thought about this recently when I fixed a toilet at my friend’s house. I don’t remember you teaching me how to fix a toilet, but I remember that broken toilets always got fixed when you got home from work. So even though you never said it, I heard “things break; you’re smart enough to fix them.”
I love how you still make things and how you still have the curiosity and confidence to discover new things. I love that you don’t keep score or go places you don’t want to go. I think it’s cool that you like interesting old things but that you know the difference between collecting and hoarding.
You looked better in a swim suit that I ever did, so thank you for not showing me this picture when I was a teenager.
The poem you wrote for my college graduation proved to me that words well-written are the best kind of gift. See what you started?
Happy Mother’s Day.
P.S. If you’re reading this after Mother’s day, here are mother/daughter interviews from the Mother’s Day show on Kansas Public Radio!
An interview with me, Becky: https://kansaspublicradio.org/podcast/kpr-presents/2023-05-13/kpr-presents-becky-blades-start-more-than-you-can-finish
An interview with my daughter, Taylor Kay Phillips: https://kansaspublicradio.org/search?q=Taylor+Kay+Phillips#nt=navsearch
Now, back to the best mom of all…