READY: Random thoughts on Mother’s Day

Staff Writer
The Destin Log

The first American celebration of Mother's Day might have occurred in 1908 as a single memorial by Anna Jarvis for her own mother Ann who had died May 10, 1905. Miss Jarvis’ long campaign to convince a stubborn Congress to create a national holiday eventually resulted in President Woodrow Wilson’s signature in 1914 proclaiming the observance of Mother’s Day on the second Sunday in May.

Years later, due to its commercialization, she regretted her achievement and tried aggressively to have the official observance of Mother’s Day rescinded. She especially hated Mother’s Day cards as they were, for her, a lazy substitute for a personal, heart-felt letter to mom. Her boycotts and protests only led to her arrest for disturbing the peace while the merchants selling cards, candy, flowers, and jewelry prospered.

My very favorite columnist, who is also my role model on how to mother without losing your sanity, is Erma Bombeck. How I do miss reading her thoughts on children and family life! She handled many of those stressful child-raising issues with both profundity and playfulness, calling our attention to the weight of being a good mother without taking oneself too seriously.

Since Mother’s Day is tomorrow, I’d like to share my expanded version of her “Ten Rules to Live By.”

Here they are.

First, never have more children than you have car windows. Second, gravity always wins. Even if you look young on the outside, on the inside your children are aging you. So, what’s the point of looking good if you can’t travel two feet from a restroom or a toy aisle. Third, never loan your car to someone to whom you have given birth. Fourth, pick friends who won’t tell you about the diamond ring they got on Mother’s Day when your spouse gave you a smoke alarm. Fifth, Carpe Diem! Seize the moment. Think of all those mothers on the Titanic who passed up the dessert cart. The sixth rule: Given a choice between the man of your dreams and a plumber, choose the latter. Men who can unplug a toilet full of Barbie accessories and Legos on a Sunday are hard to come by. Seven, teach your children the difference between success and fame. Success is Mother Teresa. Fame is Madonna. Number eight: Don’t be hasty in divorcing the father of your children. Someday, you may need him to finish your sentences. Rule nine: There are no guarantees in marriage or parenthood. Accept it, and don’t whine about unfulfilled expectations. The Brady Bunch was just a T.V. show. And finally, number ten: Never go to a class reunion pregnant. If you do, they’ll think that’s all you’ve been doing since you graduated.

Now for story time:

Two little boys gave their mom a small houseplant on Mother’s Day. They presented their meager gift with apologies and told her they wanted to buy her a big bouquet they saw at a local flower shop. They said it was perfect, but too expensive. “Mom, it was great. It had lots of roses in it, a big pink satin bow, and another ribbon across it that said, ‘Rest in Peace.’” When their mother’s face reflected puzzlement and amusement, the child-logical response was, “We wanted to get that one because you’re always telling us to go to our room so you can have some peace and get some rest!”

In a math lesson, the teacher posed a problem. “If there are 7 in your family- Mom, Dad, and 5 children, what fraction of a pie would you get? One little girl answered, “1/6.” The teacher responded, “You don’t know your fractions.” The child said, “You don’t know my Mom. She cuts the pie in 6 pieces and says she isn’t hungry.”

In another school lesson, students had been studying magnetic attraction for several days. On the Friday science test, the “give away” bonus question was “I am strong, and I pick up things. The first letter in my name is M and has six letters. What am I?”

Several children wrote MOTHER in the blank.

A recruit to the sheriff’s department was asked on his application what he would do if he had to arrest his own mother. His answer? “Call for back-up!”

MOTHER (Noun) [muh th-er] 1. A female parent  2. Someone who loves unconditionally and places the needs of her children above her own, on a personal level, and not only with words, but also actions  3. A woman with a child or children who does the work of twenty. For free.

See also “masochist” and “saint”

Mary Ready of Destin is a twice-retired English teacher and long-time area resident. Her columns are published on Saturdays.