Mother’s Day is this Sunday; I trust most all of you know that and if you forgot, you can thank me later. I have been a mom for the past 28 Mother’s Days; for that and other reasons, it’s a very sentimental day for me. You see, I lost my mother when I was 16 years old. She died of acute myelogenous leukemia, after courageously battling the wicked disease for a little more than three years.
I didn’t fully appreciate the agony she must have felt, having three young children and receiving what amounted to a certain death sentence back then. Once I became a mother, I understood. Can you imagine? Her children were 11, 13, and 15 years old when she was given an estimated 6 weeks to live.
One thing I remember about my mom was her no-nonsense approach to parenting. Remember, she and Dad were parents before “parent” became a verb. They were both Depression-era parents, for whom the basics of life mattered a great deal. They never took food or housing for granted. They didn’t lose a whole lot of sleep over what kind of cars their children drove, or whether our clothing was on par with the other kids’. Come to think of it, I was very much the same way as a mother.
With Mom, the clock was ticking. Her children were at those crucial teen and pre-teen years, a time when children need their moms probably more than at any other time in life. Because of her illness and dire prognosis, my mother hyper-parented. I can’t think of a better word for what she did; she knew she had a very small window of time in which to teach her children everything she had to teach us. Imagine trying to do that when your kids are at those awful ages when everything is about them, and to whom all things “Mom and Dad” are boring, or embarrassing, or downright silly. I still cringe when I think about how awful I must have behaved, how awful I must have made her feel.
I don’t share these personal memories for sympathy; quite the contrary. I share them to encourage each of you fortunate enough to still have your mom, to celebrate her this Sunday. Everybody’s story is different, but the bottom line is this: you have one mom, and she loves you more than you can imagine. You are in her thoughts every day, and she is only as happy as her unhappiest kid. That never changes.
As a mom who’s an empty-nester, I can tell you that that depth of love doesn’t change once your kids are gone. They each begin to walk their own paths, and you walk right along with them. Careers, loves, joys, heartbreaks…Mom is there for every one of them, if even from a distance. Her heart is right beside you.
This Sunday, tell Mom you love her. Treat her to a day that pampers her, and let her know that even when you forget to call, she’s still Mom, and you still need her. You may not know just how much you need her until she’s gone. You’ll pick up the phone to share some good news, or perhaps to cry on the only shoulder that can actually make you feel better, and she won’t be there. I think that maybe that’s the ultimate realization of just how much she means to you. So on Sunday, celebrate her well.
Happy Mother’s Day to every mom out there. I hope your children do you proud on Sunday!
Carole Townsend is a Gwinnett author and freelance writer. Her fourth book, BLOOD IN THE SOIL, was named Finalist for 2017 Georgia Author of the Year in the Detective/Mystery genre. Her previous three books are written with loving humor about the South. Carole often appears on network television talk and news shows, as well as on national radio shows. Her books can be found in bookstores, on Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble.com, and at www.caroletownsend.com. When she’s not writing, Carole travels throughout the southeast, talking to groups about women, writing, family, and life in her beloved South. www.caroletownsend.com. Follow Carole on Facebook (Carole Townsend-Author), Twitter @caroletownsend, or Instagram @carole.w.riter.