Just to show how nice of a guy I am, I woke up earlier than usual for a weekend, and after one cup of coffee, I proceeded to the kitchen to whip up a coffee cake as the first Mother’s Day gift to the mother of the house. It’s one of her favorites. I used a different pan this time, and the results were even better than normal. We sat and ate the warm slices of the cake and did our crossword puzzle, and so began Mother’s Day 2021.
We have a lot in store for today – I’m going to steam some snow crab legs for this evening’s meal, which is always a hit. And of course, presents are yet to be wrapped, but they should all be well received. Basically, today is a day that belongs to Cheri, and as much as I can make her day wonderful, I sure will. After all, it’s the least I can do for this angel on earth.
As we sorted and cleaned out Mom’s house two years ago, one thing that came into my possession was a pin of a gold horse with an emerald for an eye. Now, I sure it is a gold-foiled horse, and the emerald was the finest green glass you could find, probably in China. You see, when we were growing up, Mother’s Day was a huge deal for the seven of us children. We always said that Mom bore seven crosses. Anyway, the biggest challenge came in gathering what money we could possibly find, and then heading to Brown’s 5 and 10 cent store to make the selection for the favorite woman in our lives. We had a few different categories to choose from, all of which we knew she would be awestruck over. One year, a couple of us went together and bought Mom a lamp. Not too tall, plastic shade, I think it was beige, but certainly something she could use. The toughest part was getting it home while riding one handed on the bike, and trying not to drop the lamp along the gravel and asphalt road to the house.
Of course, among the selections most years was one of our favorites – perfume. I’m not quite sure of the label, but I think you might be able to imagine the kind of perfume that Brown’s carried. Since the smell/scent was about all the same, and nothing we boys wanted to become proficient in naming, we would go for the best value for the money. Usually that meant buying a bottle of perfume that probably had a pint or so of the smelly stuff. Again, I remember Mom being speechless as she opened the present and realized she was now the proud possessor of such a large bottle. We never really saw her put it on, but it was evident that over the course of a number of weeks, the liquid in the bottle would get used up – although I imagine we had the most fragrant bathroom sink drains in the Western World.
My finest hour, however, came in the hunt for jewelry. Normally, we considered that to be Dad’s area of expertise, but for some reason one year I found myself walking by the jewelry collection at Brown’s and there, nestled in amongst the rest of the more mundane pieces was the find of a lifetime. As I mentioned, it was a pin, about two inches long, in the shape of a magnificent steed, front legs raised, covered in gold, and there, to top it all off, was that beautiful emerald. I’ve always been a sucker for emeralds since the Wizard of Oz, and I knew Mom again, would be speechless in delight over becoming the owner of such a prize.
It was also a lot easier to carry it home than riding with a lamp. It also took way less time to wrap. I expect we used either birthday or Christmas wrapping, since we had no need for anything else.
I’m not sure which effort showed the most love – whether it was our long decision-making, and purchases with our very own money – I’m sure we had probably close to $3.00 most years – or whether it was Mom’s ability to open all the different presents from her children, and find just the right words to express her gratitude for our work and sacrifice.
So, since 1986 – in May that year, she was carrying Aaron, to be born in September – Mother’s Day in our house is a pretty big deal. 35 years of finding the perfect present, cooking what she wants, and doing pretty much whatever makes her happy. I can’t do that for Mom anymore – after she died in 2019, my effort changed to 100% care of this woman who has cared for us all for these many years.
I don’t know what mother may be part of your life, or whether there are multiple opportunities to show your love and gratitude for what they do. It doesn’t even have to be a birth mother, you know – there are plenty of women who fit the category, simply by the love they offer and the support and gentle care they bring to this world. If you don’t have a mom handy, go find one.
The manner in which we intentionally offer our love in a focused, direct way speaks volumes of how aware we are of the ones around us, and what those “ones” do to change our lives in significant ways. It’s not about the presents, or the food, or most anything – it is about the underlying, well-rooted expression of how great we think those persons are who have come into our lives at just the right time.
So, if you are a mother, enjoy the day! If you are someone connected to a mother, enjoy the day as well, since any excuse will do to share your love with the most lovely people you’ll ever know.
Word for the day: flabbergast. Pronounced FLAB-ur-gast. A number of our words in language do not have formal official pedigrees. Some are just slang that comes along, and somehow, the sound and the import of the word is such that it seems to stick for generations after. In about 1772, “flabbergast” came about as a kind of “fashionable slang” – probably coming from young adults, like “cool,” or “rad,” or “23 skidoo!” It seems to have come from the Sussex region of England, and probably peeled off from “gasconade,” meaning to boast extravagantly. Whatever the root, it meant to overwhelm with bewilderment, almost always in a ludicrous manner. The word became a way for a person to also describe their own mental being, in saying they were “flabbergasted” over what just happened, or over the predicament they found themselves in. Today, what appears to be the word that is all the rage in England, and floating toward the Americas is “gob smacked.” Same thing – I am overwhelmed by the crazy thing I have just experienced, or what I’ve just heard.
After 43 years of ministry, Randy Cross lived his "fourth life" and shared about retirement, living boldly and intentionally in our world. To be sure, there was some North Dakota thrown in.