Mama could always count on a Mother’s Day card from me. She could always count on it being about four days late. I would call her and tell her, “Your card is on the way.” She would laugh and know that was just the way her middle son was when it came to cards. Honestly, most of us know that each and every day should be “Mother’s Day.”
So in honor of my Mama (and yours), I’m sending you a Mother’s Day story “about four days late.”
My brother recently sent me some pictures from our childhood. You know the type of pictures – the ones that Mama had made at Olan Mills with our heads tilted and wearing little outfits that I’m sure she put a lot of thought into picking out.
In that group of pictures, there was a random one that anyone else would not have understood, but I did. It was a picture of a green plastic yard chair and a blooming purple iris.
Our Mama passed away over a year ago and as those of you who have lost your mother knows, it is difficult not only on Mother’s Day, but also every time you see or hear or smell or taste or touch something that reminds you of your mother.
My Mama loved purple and in particular, she loved purple irises. They seemed to just show up in the yard every spring.
Folks often squabble over the worldly possessions their mothers owned. Things like china, silver, jewelry and antique furniture. I understand that many of these things are heirlooms and hold meaning for children and grandchildren.
However, I think the “things” that are most valuable are those that really can’t be squabbled over – things that were meant to be shared. These “things” are the precious memories our mothers left us with or shared with us.
The little things like seeing a purple iris or the smell of a particular dish your mother cooked. These are things that won’t be in the Will when your mother leaves.
If your mother has passed away, you can still share those memories with your siblings, children and grandchildren. Her silver pitcher will tarnish, her china could very well shatter when it hits the floor, and the stone in her heirloom ring could fall out never to be found.
So if your mother is still living, don’t ask her who’s going to get the china cabinet or the dining room table. Ask her what her favorite flower is; what she loved doing when she was a little girl, what scared her, what made her happy and what kept her from quitting.
Ask her what her favorite song was, her favorite books and all of those other questions that you want to know. Do it before it’s too late…. Do it understanding all of the time she invested in you…. Do it understanding all of the things she didn’t get to do because of you… Do it knowing you wouldn’t be here, if it weren’t for her.
The other night I was watching the movie, “The Greatest Game Ever Played.” I’ve seen it at least twenty times, but still watch it every chance I get. It’s about Francis Ouimet, the first amateur ever to win the U.S. Open.
I’m not an avid golfer; I get to play about once a year. You don’t need to know anything about golf, to appreciate Francis’ accomplishment. He came from an immigrant family that was part of the working class – who were not supposed to be playing golf, let alone winning.
Francis’ mother does what so many mothers do – she’s a real “dream weaver.” I’m not talking about computer software or some song from the 1970’s. I’m talking about a mother who selflessly patches together scraps to weave their children’s dreams. She does it with a smile on her face and a glow in her heart.
At one point in the movie, Francis’ father who thinks that his son’s dreams are unreachable due to their working class stature, points this out to Francis’s mother.
He says to Francis' mother, “All you ever do is encourage him.”
Francis’ mother pops back at her husband, “That's right. I do encourage him. He has a God-given talent, and this is his one chance to give a voice to it. He's just trying to make you proud.”
That’s what mothers do… They tell you (and everyone else) that “you can do it,” when everyone else tells you that you can’t.
So that’s my story about the picture my brother sent me of the green chair and the purple iris.
The green chair may be empty, but the purple iris still blooms.
Happy Mother’s Day! Each And Every Day…
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