How do you celebrate and honour your mother?
People around the world celebrate mother’s day at various times – but is just one day in the year of honouring your mother ever enough?
Mother’s day is celebrated around the world but on different days in the UK and the USA due to a number of different origins.
In the USA, it is held on the second Sunday in May whilst in the UK it falls on the fourth Sunday of Lent, so it is usually in March.
Most countries around the world follow either of these dates whilst a few have their own special dates.
No matter when it is celebrated, mother’s day worldwide is a day for celebrating motherhood and thanking mothers who often receive gifts on this day.
Though the ever increasing commercialisation of this occasion does not resonate with me, it is indeed a day to celebrate with your mother.
Perhaps this year you may want to ignore the commercial hype and do something simple and meaningful that your mother would appreciate more rather than yet another expensive junket.
Create a special and memorable occasion which will live in everyone’s memory.
Today for this mother’s day and indeed for any day, I want to share some of my own memories of my mother and what she has done for me.
Please use my thoughts and experiences of my mother to also remember and honour what your mother has done for you and what she stands for in your life.
Mother’s day is also a poignant time for those whose mothers have passed away. The day then becomes a reminder of bygone days of shared joys and treasured memories.
I just spoke to a friend who very nearly lost his mother a few months whilst they were travelling in India. She was so ill that she was not allowed to get on the plane in India and ended up spending 6 weeks in hospital before coming back to the UK in an air ambulance.
Another time, a friend called me to tell me that his mother passed away that morning in a rest home.
It was a very sad loss for him, even though this was not entirely unexpected as his mother had been ill and deteriorating rapidly.
After the initial shock and grief of any such loss, people like my friend can ultimately look back on many happy days and knowing that he did the best he could to look after his mother in her old age.
“A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie”. ~Tenneva Jordan
Every now and then, I come across someone whose relationship with their mother is not quite as good as it could be.
Of course all relationships have their ups and downs, but to me the relationship with your mother is a very special one and everyone should try and heal it somehow. Know that no matter how intractable the relationship may appear to be, it can be healed, given a chance to do so.
A few years ago, when working on some relationship healing work in my own life, I came across a wonderful audio CD called “Healing Relationships” by Bernie Siegel, well known medical doctor and author.
In this audio, Dr Siegel talks about how a daughter healed her relationship with her estranged mother. She telephoned her mother every day for three months and ended every call with probably the three most powerful words in the world – “I love you”.
Then one day, something shifted. The daughter was in a hurry and ended her call without those three words. Right away the mother called the daughter back and reminded her that she had forgotten to say something.
In that moment, the barriers came down, mother and daughter were reconciled, and the mother was finally able to put into words her own true feelings – “I love you too”.
If nothing else, on THIS mother’s day, just let your mother know that you do love her.
Speak from your heart without expecting anything back. Her feelings of love and caring for you have never gone away, perhaps just submerged beneath other concerns and challenges.
Life is too short and maybe this mother’s day is the day to build bridges and heal hearts.
Mother’s day is also a day to remember those special moments and also life changing events around your mother.
As for me, I can simply not imagine my life without my mother. Though she lives less than hundred miles away from me, rarely does a day go by when I do not speak to her.
We might as well be living together as our lives are still so intertwined. She is like a pillar in my life – always there and available.
More than a pillar, she is like a favourite pillow or cuddly toy – you know where to turn to for some warmth, comfort and reassurance. (Of course I don’t have a cuddly toy, but I do have a favourite pillow).
Somehow she is even more important in my life since the loss of my father just over 2 years ago. He left behind his memories and his lessons in compassion.
A few days ago I was talking to a friend whose mother passed away early last year and she still spoke about her mother in the present tense.
It was as if her mother was still alive and part of her life, and in many ways her mother was still very much alive and part of her life.
I would imagine this would be the same for everyone – the memories, the special moments and the enduring loving presence of your mother will always live on.
“Being a full-time mother is one of the highest salaried jobs… since the payment is pure love”. ~Mildred B. Vermont
My earliest memory of the impact of a loss of a mother was when my maternal grandmother passed away due to a brain tumour over twenty years ago.
In those days they could not operate whereas I am sure a similar illness now could be operated upon using laser surgery. So after many months of deteriorating health and loss of faculties, my grandmother peacefully passed away one night in her sleep at home.
A few very sad and forlorn days followed though I was too young to fully appreciate the loss felt by my uncles and aunts, who had lost their mother.
However, the most distraught person was my own mother. One day, during the grieving period, whilst all the kids had been ushered upstairs to one of the bedrooms, I heard this terrible wailing and heart rending crying which would have made stones weep if that was possible.
I sneaked downstairs thinking it may be my sister or one of the aunts, only to discover that it was my own mother in total anguish. To this day, I do not remember her ever again in so much pain.
The shock that day of seeing my mother so distraught at the loss of her own mother has remained with me ever since as a reminder of just what a mother means to a child.
At the same time, that day my mother lost for me this image and veneer of composure and hardness that she had held for me. No longer was she the firm but fair, strict, disciplinarian mother but just another softie who could openly cry in front of her whole family.
I gained something that day but also lost a little. I learnt that it was okay to be expressive and show your emotions, especially when it is around your mother. Also, if my mother could cry like that, then so could I.
Over the years, I have seen my mother go through further trials and tribulations. I saw her cry again the day my older sister got married – but at least that was on a happy occasion. Those were the tears of a happy mother seeing her daughter off to a new and hopefully happy life. That day I cried too, partly to give her some company.
Once she was in real physical pain as she badly cut a finger whilst opening a can of fruit. Somehow the can opener slipped and she gashed herself. She was taken to the nearest hospital for some emergency stitches.
To this day I regret how I refused to accompany her to hospital as I was engrossed with some TV show. I am sure she doesn’t even remember my callousness but it is such remembered moments that remind me of my own frailties and also the ever forgiving love of my mother.
“A man loves his sweetheart the most, his wife the best, but his mother the longest”. ~Irish Proverb
There have of course been many happy memories of my mother and none more so when my youngest sister was born. The day they came back from hospital was one of the happiest days in our family. This was in stark contrast to few days before when she was rushed off to hospital for the imminent birth, leaving behind her four very young children in the care of the neighbours.
Only much later did I realise that her tears were of pain and worry about what could happen to us if she didn’t make it through the birth, as she had had a difficult pregnancy.
I remembered when I left for college for the first time and she cried as she saw me off. Her “baby” was leaving home at the age of eighteen and she feared I would never return.
This has kind of come true as I have not lived with my parents ever since, having gone off to work in other cities ever since college. In those days, that wasn’t quite the norm for Asian children.
Ideally I would have returned home after college and lived with them, but it was not to be.
In recent years, my mother has taken on a new persona of invincibility and strength. She is now a “bionic mother”, having had her knees replaced in both legs.
Though she went through a lot of pain for a few weeks during her rehabilitation after the knee replacement operations, the surgeons have literally given her a new lease of life.
She is now much more mobile than she has been for the last decade or so and the arthritic pain is almost all gone. It is like having a new mother – the wrinkles are deeper but the energy and motion is much more youthful.
I am expecting her to take up some new sports this summer such as netball, cricket or soccer for the over seventies. But then again perhaps not – she should maybe just stick to racing around her garden without her walking stick.
There have been so many special moments and memories of my mother and I guess I was spoilt quite a bit being the youngest of three brothers.
I always got away with my cheekiness and naughtiness whereas my siblings may have been reprimanded. She even called me “mani” (jewel) and I never lived this down.
Other children, even your siblings can be so cruel with their relentless teasing and name calling. So you see, in a way, I have had quite an abused childhood – and maybe one day I will need some therapy or coaching to discover the “real me” 🙂 .
“Mothers hold their children’s hands for a short while, but their hearts forever”. ~Author Unknown
To this day, every time I call her, my mother still asks if I have eaten yet, no matter what time of day or night I call her!
I think all mothers must be programmed somehow to check that their children have eaten, are warm and are generally okay and happy.
I can imagine my mother still checking up about my tummy even when I am sixty and an old man. She is a worrier if ever there was one. Or perhaps that’s just another genetic trait of mothers.
No matter how many times my mother asks about my health and the fulfillment state of my ravenous stomach, I would have her no other way.
She is the way she is, and I am who I am because of her. I owe her everything I have and a lot more. And yet I know that like all other mothers, she expects nothing back from me.
“God could not be everywhere and therefore he made mothers.” – old proverb
How well that proverb rings true, especially amongst Indian families, where our culture and tradition places a mother alongside god and godliness.
So on this mother’s day, do even more than usual to celebrate and honour your mother and to remember all that she has done for you.
Create a special day for her, not withstanding the commercial hype, and remind her once again just how much she means to you.
Of course, you don’t need mother’s day to come around for you to tell her how much she means to you just once a year – you can express your love and appreciation of your mother every day from now onwards.
To end, here is an insight into just what “mother” means:-
“M” is for the million things she gave me,
“O” means only that she’s growing old,
“T” is for the tears she shed to save me,
“H” is for her heart of purest gold;
“E” is for her eyes, with love-light shining,
“R” means right, and right she’ll always be,
Put them all together, they spell “MOTHER,”
A word that means the world to me.
– Howard Johnson
Happy Mother’s Day everyone, today and everyday.
what would we do without them! it’s mother’s day here in NZ today- about to take her out to a lovely lunch and spend some quality time together.
i owe my mother a lot – she cared for me for nearly 2 years while i was dealing with kidney disease then dialysis and all the complications that brought. she was totally there for me, unselfishly, unconditionally and i truly owe her who i am and the fact that I’m still around!
i hope we all appreciate our mothers more than one day a year!
Tania, I hope you had a great mother’s day with your Mum down under in New Zealand.
It’s wonderful that you were able to leave London and stay with your Mum and family for your health. So in a way you owe your life to her more than once:-)
As you say, what would we do without our mothers?!
I can’t imagine life without my Mum. When I don’t know the answer to a question I ring my Mum. My Dad is legend in my family for being able to fix things, my Mum is legend for knowing the answer to all questions – why is the sky blue, how long should I cook a roast for, what’s the name of that book about such and such, does this cut finger look infected…Mum is also my best friend (along with my husband, my sister and my sister-in-law). She’s always there when I need her, and she gives me space when I need that. She picks up my kids when I’m running late, can whip up a quick meal from a seemingly bare cupboard, can fold a pile of washing in half a minute flat, and makes the best desserts ever tasted. I never want to imagine a time without her. She’s the best!
Topi, great that you have so many best friends!
Your mother sounds just like mine:-)
Thank you sharing stories about your mother, it was touching and honest. Most moms are kind and caring and reason the way we are. I really appreciated my mom, after I had kids. Now she calls me from east coast to remind me to wear sweater in california, I get it. When she is cold, she thinks her kids are cold, I do same with my kids too, when I am cold, I put sweater on them 🙂 silly, I know but I get it now.
Wishing a happy mother’s day to everyone! everyday!
ZenGirl, my mum doesn’t quite put sweater on me, but she would, if I let her!
I guess it’s only after you have had your own kids, you learn why your own parents and especially your mom fussed over you so much.
As a mother and daughter, I find this post particularly beautiful as it captures the essence of motherhood and special relationship between mother and child. As an Irish mother, I am amused and not surprised at the typically Irish proverb and am still trying to define “best” and “most” in terms of loving.
As a child (youngest), I remember the first time I saw my Mum cry (Only twice). She had returned home from hospital where she had spent a few days after a miscarriage. She had missed us. She also knew that this was her family, complete. I could write a book on all her selfless gestures. Now she is most;y confined to bed with Alzeimers. I miss her most when I am shopping and wish she was with me. Most of all I miss her strength as she was an emotional rock.
As a mother, I regularly dont like pie. My son has become wise to this and usually qualifies with “are you just saying this”. My daughter, a little younger replies “great, more for me”. It is the enigma of motherhood.
Fiona, thanks for your kind feedback and for sharing your own story.
Your mother will always be with you, no matter what.
I think you should write that book about your mother’s selfless gestures. And remind me to make you some pie, next time we meet:-)
I was in India with my mum with both of us going through a challenging time when it was mothers day in the UK. That whole experience brought us much closer together and so far it does feel like mothers day every day now that she’s finally home! Great article Arvind and kudos for spreading the message of honouring our mothers.
Amit, I remember speaking to you whilst you were in India and trying your level best to get your ailing mother safe and sound back to the UK.
You are such a hero for getting through what you did – I bet you have one very produ mother:-)