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April 15, 2024

The True Meaning of Mother's Day

By Tedi Trindle

When those of us who belong to the female half of the population think about growing older, we have mixed feelings. We wouldn't want to go back to when we were making ultra-stupid decisions about our lives, but we have the nagging suspicion that, with each passing day, we are becoming more like our mothers.

There was a time when this was a fate worse than death. And even though most of us grow to appreciate the woman who gave us birth, when you dedicate your life to becoming someone completely different, it's hard to accept that you're still turning out like her.

In my case, the comparisons are obvious. I sound like my mother, I look like my mother, and, heaven help me, sometimes I even think like my mother. Don't get me wrong. I love her, and I admire her. But she is a little bizarre. And that's me saying that. I swear to you there are many times when my mother makes me look like Jane Normal.

She doesn't mean to be strange. She just can't help it. That's because she's an artist. I think they lose their license or something if they act like everybody else does. And I'm quite sure she doesn't care whether she does or does not.

When I was growing up, I took her eccentricity for granted. When my middle school principal didn't want girls to wear pants to school, she went on a crusade. The end result was that we got to wear pants. My mom was a hero.

At Christmas one year, when we went to the kids' pageant at church, she didn't wear a nice, matronly sweater and slacks. She was dressed in a full cape of tartan plaid with a matching (huge) kind of hat. When she introduced herself as my mother, I joked, "Don't tell them that." She turned to me, full of concern that I was embarrassed, and apologized. "Don't be silly," I reassured her. "I think your outfit it great, I was just teasing."

Other moms make cookies. My mom makes stained-glass windows and welds copper fountains. Some moms write little love notes. My mom hand-wrote my wedding invitations in fine calligraphy. Some moms go to Florida for the winter. My mom goes to England and New Orleans and Santa Fe to put her paintings in art galleries. And while other moms are kissing boo-boos and mopping the floor, my mom is dressing up like Huck Finn so she can put her picture on a computer-generated greeting card.

Yes, my mother is strange. I never came home to June Cleaver wearing pearls and cooking a pot roast. I was more likely to encounter workmen installing cathedral windows in the living room or digging out a tiered Chinese garden in the back yard. But my mom taught me some things that other kids never knew. She taught me the value of independence and about how to become an individual. She insisted that I finish college and teach my own kids the value of an education.

She bought me every book I ever wished for, encouraged every avenue of interest I ever encountered, applauded every accomplishment I ever achieved. When I had children, even though I was broke, she was happy for me. She held my hand through a difficult divorce and has been there for me every single time I have needed her.

But, most important of all, she taught me how to see the world with innocent eyes, to notice the unusual, to appreciate the wonder of life in all its diversity. She taught me that life is an adventure and that I should always reach for my most fantastic dreams. Without my mother, I wouldn't be half the woman I am today.

If you like what I write for you in these missives, you can thanks my mom for all of them. I'm dead certain that, if she hadn't raised me, I wouldn't think the way I do and I couldn't pass those thoughts on to you.

In honor of Mother's Day, I could have sent a nice bouquet and a mushy card to show my appreciation. But, somehow, it just didn't seem like enough. Our mothers make us who we are, in all our variety. Take some time today to think about what it is that makes your mom special. And what she did to make you special, too. Then tell her, if you can. It will be a Mother's Day present she will never forget or appreciate more. And don't forget to send chocolate.

Article © Tedi Trindle. All rights reserved.
Published on 2005-05-09
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