This morning I ran into Wegmans to pick up a cup of coffee and a few things. It’s the day before Mother’s Day and the store was a buzz with fathers, husbands, and son’s shopping for the women in their life. With all of my travels throughout the US, Asia and Europe I have never experienced a grocery store like Wegmans. When you walk into Wegmans it takes in all of your senses, the store is alive with color, taste and smell and today the store manager was at the door welcoming every customer. While I was in the checkout line, I met an elderly man who had been searching for something special for his wife — he said they had everything they could possibly need but it was important to recognize her on Mother’s Day.
While approaching my car, I noticed a young Mom holding her three children tightly to protect them from the busyness of the Wegmans parking lot. She had a serious and determined look on her face that I recognized in myself many years ago. I thought this is what counts– the day to day actions that Mom’s do to ensure there children are safe. Its the small things that go unnoticed like a kiss goodnight, a clean bed to sleep in, a dinner prepared at the end of the day, a smile when they walk in and their favorite cookie on a special occasion. For me as a Mom it was important to widen my sons view by introducing as many new experiences into their life and thereby showing them its a big world with many different occupations, personalities and cultures. They could do whatever they set out to do in this world– this is one of the biggest lesson’s I learned from my own parents and I wanted to pass it on.
My big lesson this year is my Mom and one that I will always cherish. I donated my kidney on behalf of my brother last August and when I was released from the hospital I was required to stay in Pittsburgh for two weeks due to traveling and follow up medical visits. During this time I stayed at the Family House in Pittsburgh and my Mom who had traveled from California stayed with me. I often consider my Mom as one of the most impatient people on this planet, but for those two weeks she was an angel. She stayed by my side and just looked after me by cooking, organizing, washing, lifting and always being gracious. It was a crazy time for me with the recuperation from the surgery, the large amount of emotional baggage I carried along with feeling anxious about my brother’s surgery two weeks after my own. I can be stubborn in thinking that I can do it on my own and so I rarely let anyone in– let alone help me. This experience has taught me much, including opening myself up and letting my Mom in and for that I am forever grateful.
Being one of six children my Mom was busy, working, raising us, getting dinner on the table and ensuring we had clean clothes and she never had a moment for herself. Us older kids had very little one-on-one time with her but she did find the time for occasional bedtime stories and a cup of tea. My Mom is Dutch and she grew up in Utrecht, Holland during World War II and has amazing stories of the Americans camped out in her backyard and war planes flying over the city she lived in. Oma who is grandma to my boys would often tell them wartime stories at night before they went to bed, I often wonder about the influence these stories has had on my children’s lives. English is my Mom’s second language which is all she has spoken since we were born, however it’s not her native language and with that words sometimes are misinterpreted. My Mom who has nine other siblings learned to make due with the bare minimum and she continues to live her life this way. She has an amazing strength and determination along with a deep love for all of her children.
On this Mother’s day can we focus on the simple moments of our life, think about the small things your Mom has done for you and let go of the stories that keep the painful memories alive. Consider how much our Mom’s gave of themselves and how they worked to keep food on the table and a warm bed to sleep in and let that be more than enough.
Happy Mother’s Day to all Moms!