Today is the day set aside to honor mothers, whether they birthed you or not.
I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, my one and only child. Well, that’s not entirely true. I became “mom” to all of her friends, hosting sleepovers, feeding them, driving around to find the best PokéStops (not the fish) going to the movies, camping, the list goes on and on.
Being a mom is the hardest job a woman can have, and can be the most rewarding. As a mother you cherish those young, impressionable years when your children look at you as some type of omnipotent being. They make you the most adorable handmade gifts for your special day. I still have every one of them.
As they get older they realize, to our chagrin, that we are not infallible. Puberty begins to take hold and that sweet baby you stayed up to feed every two hours has morphed into an unrecognizable being who both loves and loathes you in a matter of minutes. Yet mothers everywhere continue the pursuit to infiltrate their minds with the ideals and morals they want to impress on their very souls. There are those glimmers of hope we see when at some point during the teenage years our offspring say or do something, however fleeting, that make you think for a moment that they actually have been listening to the wise and all knowing advice you have been trying to imprint on their hormone controlled brain. Throughout those troublesome years, my daughter would always find some way to make Mother’s Day special for me, expressing her love and appreciation for me in more sophisticated ways as she grew older. And those non-commercial gestures are some of my most cherished memories.
I say this not only as a mother, but as a daughter who put my own mother through the same anguish, only to shower her with love on that Sunday in May.
Of course that was a different time. My mother was a stay at home mom. Most of my friends’ moms’ were too. Her role, like most mothers of the 1960s was pretty well defined. They kept the home running; cooking, cleaning, laundry, parent organizations and keeping the kids in line, in our case, with a wooden spoon. Unless of course you really screwed up and were threatened with “wait until your father gets home.” But I digress.
These days, 71.5% of all mothers with children under the age of 18 are employed, according to a 2018 Bureau of Labor Statistics report.
I am part of that statistic, raising my child as a single mother most of her life. My hanai daughter, who is the same age as my birth daughter, moved in with us as a teenager. I did my best to give both of them the tools they needed to approach adulthood, know right from wrong and have the same optimistic, snarky attitude that I have subscribed to. I did my best to balance their schedules and our home life while working full time.
My reward came a few years ago when they announced a beautifully planned Mother’s Day, starting with homemade Eggs Benedict, my favorite breakfast. As they finished making the hollandaise sauce, I received word of a bad traffic accident involving a fatality on Highway 190. Of course, as the only mother in the newsroom, I was called upon to cover it. Breakfast would have to wait.
Six hours later, I returned home to a very late breakfast.
“It’s OK mom,” they told me, “we are making you your favorite pork loin for dinner.”
I settled into the evening with my girls, playing a game of Monopoly on the living room floor while the loin rested on the kitchen counter. Just as I was about to buy hotels on Boardwalk and Park Place, Kea, our husky/collie dog strolled over to give me a kiss. Aww, even she wanted to wish me a happy Mother’s Day. But wait, “Kea, why do you smell like garlic and lemon pork loin?” I asked. My girls popped up to look in the kitchen, and by the look on their faces I knew. She ate the whole thing. After we all had a good laugh over the absurdity of the day, it was decided that we would celebrate another day.
And that’s my point. Mothers should be celebrated every day, not just one Sunday in May. So if you are fortunate enough to still have you mother with you, either near or far, be sure to tell her how much you love and appreciate her more than once a year. It will be the best present you could give her.
Laura Ruminski is the photographer for West Hawaii Today.