Celebrating Mothers

Mother’s Day has always been a special day for me, especially after I became a mother more than 32 years ago. After my eldest daughter Alex was born, my mom Frieda told me that the focus would now be on me as a mom, and she would come to my house. I always remember that.

So this year, with my grandson Eli being 17 months old, I happily offered to drive 70 miles to my daughter Alex’s house very early Sunday morning to spend time with them. I brought Alex flowers, took her and Eli to breakfast, and gifted her a massage to honor this special day. (My younger daughter Sophia had a cold, so didn’t want to share germs with us and stayed home.)

 

Sophia and me on FaceTime since we couldn’t visit in person.

I also learned something new that day. Alex sends hand-signed and mailed Mother’s Day cards to all of her “mom” friends! I’m talking more than 25 friends! Alex told me that she had started doing this a few years ago, as she feels that being a mom is something very special and wanted to celebrate all her friends. I smiled when she told me, as I have been doing the same thing for years. I wonder if she knows that we do the same thing? She probably doesn’t know that my own mom also sent Mother’s Day cards and flowers to special moms in her life!

It was later that afternoon that I learned an even more interesting Mother’s Day tradition. I was playing golf and stopped to chat with Gus, who runs the snack shop at our golf course. I asked him what his wife was doing that day for Mother’s Day. When he told me he had no idea, I must have looked a bit surprised. That’s when he shared with me the Mexican tradition for Mother’s Day—in Mexico Mother’s Day is always on May 10 (unlike our American holiday which is always on the second Sunday of May). Gus told me that he would be doing something special for his wife on Tuesday, May 10.

I asked my co-worker Margie more about Mexican Mother’s Day, as she is my go-to person on these kinds of things. Margie told me that in Mexico Mother’s Day is equally as important as a person’s birthday. She said traditionally mariachi bands are hired to serenade for Mother’s Day, a tradition that has been brought to parts of the U.S. In fact, she said that in Guadalajara, Mexico, (where her family is from) there are always advertisements to hire mariachi bands for May 10th celebrations. She said that oftentimes you can hear them playing just after midnight to welcome in the Mother’s Day celebrations.

Colorful flowers are traditional gifts for mothers in Mexico, and many family members will take off work just to spend the day with their mothers. Since moms traditionally do the cooking in the family, the moms may cook for the day, but they will be surrounded by their entire family, who gathers to honor them and show them just how special they are!

As Margie and I were talking, one of our co-workers overheard us and told us that in his home country of Nicaragua, Mother’s Day is celebrated on May 30! And with a little help from the Internet, I learned that observance of Mother’s Day is different in many countries.

Most Americans might guess that Mother’s Day is a “Hallmark holiday” (i.e. created by the Hallmark company as a way to sell more greeting cards). When, in fact, I think Mother’s Day is an extremely meaningful and special day that is deserving of a pause and an outpouring of love and caring.

(Left) The best compliment a mom could ever receive (card from my daughter Alex) (Right) Alex, me and Eli at the park on Mother’s Day

For myself, I was overwhelmed with the number of texts I received from friends and family members wishing me a happy Mother’s Day. It always takes me by surprise when this happens, as I have no expectations.

But frankly, the card that touched me the most was the one that Alex gave me.

To all the moms out there—I hope you felt the love on Mother’s Day!

Karen