The month of May brings more cultural holidays for us to celebrate than I could have possibly imagined! In fact, there are some that are quite unique. Wacky. No…just down right bizarre!
For instance, just to name a few, May is National Salad Month. That’s right. You can thank God for greens every time you munch on arugula. Celebrate the salad!! For the lachanophobians (fear of vegetables) out there, DON’T WORRY. There is no need for psychological reprogramming in the month of May since it is also National Hamburger Month.
Did you know that you can celebrate wildflowers in week two of May during National Wildflower Week? Or Mother Goose Day on May 1st. How about International Tuba Day (2nd), Lumpy Rug Day (3rd), or National Candied Orange Peel Day (4th) which also competes for patrons because it shares a date with Star Wars Day. The list goes on!
Who knew that Cinco de Mayo is actually a more widely celebrated holiday in the United States than in Mexico? I’ve come to believe that it’s a made holiday intended to disguise a Texan’s excuse for consuming one of the four essential food groups in the Texan food pyramid: Tacos, Burritos, Nachos, and Enchiladas. Not to mention any special beverages that may be required to wash these babies down.
May also marks a day in time when all Americans celebrate our war heroes with rallies, picnics, and family gatherings on the last Monday before summer to honor the fallen. Clinging to the last days of gorgeous spring weather, it is not difficult at all to find any excuse whatsoever to celebrate in the month of May! Translation: We eat food together.
But there is one day in May that has become down right sacred in our American tapestry. Mother’s Day. Sure, there will be sweet little nothings written in cards, the scent of roses, and men everywhere grilling large hunks of meat to show their woman just how much they care. But, perhaps the most tender moment of all is the hug of a child and a look that reveals a knowledge that your eyes were the first to see my eyes. Your smile, the first I’ve ever known.
This time of reflection on all the acts of love between mother and child causes us to look to the generations before us and say thank you Mama, and to the generation behind us and say Child, there is nothing I wouldn’t do for you.
Even as a grown woman, I still remember all the little things my Mama did to make my life special and tell me that she loved me. Like going away to summer camp and receiving her letters in the mail that told of all the mundane tasks of home, who had come to dinner, or how my brother had skinned his knee. She always closed her letters with two instructions for living: Say your prayers and brush your teeth.
She has always been such a practical person. If you are a Bible reader, she is a poster child for Martha. Because there was never a household task left undone or a problem she couldn’t solve, we nicknamed her The Mother of Invention. She is by far the world’s greatest human being at functional living that I have ever encountered.
She is also The Queen of Precaution. Her three favorite words besides you need to are just in case. What I mean by this: It would not be uncommon during one of her visits to my house to say, “Do you have a pair of rubber boots?”…. “If you do then I’ll place a piece of cardboard over the puddle in front of the woodpile and then we’ll be able to get the wood just in case a cold front moves in and we need to build a fire.” She could be in the dang Boy Scouts because her internal motto seems to be always be prepared. Heaven forbid that someone should ever step out of bed and the coffee pot not be ready to go with the push of a button!
Besides being The Mother of Invention and The Queen of Precaution, She is also The Task Master. If you want something done, call my Mom Debbie. She is a make it happen kind of person. If you don’t want something done….you might not want to call Debbie. Whenever she’s around, there are no stones left unturned. In order for Debbie to sleep at night, every thought, action item, or bodily function MUST be processed before 9 PM when her head hits the pillow. Even if it means peeling shrimp until your fingers bleed. WARNING: DO NOT CALL AFTER 9 PM!!!!….I beg you.
So in spite of my sister and I giggling about how our Mama Debbie is all of these creatures, I freely admit that without Debbie the Task Master I would have never had the freedom to become the thinker and artist God has given me over to be. Mama provided the necessary framework for nurturing the gifts God planted deep inside me. Her Mother of Invention traits have cultivated many solutions throughout the years to problems that would have otherwise been far too costly to solve. And Debbie the Queen of Precaution just flat out haunts me as I hear her voice in mine every time I tell my son, “Oh, better bring your umbrella to school just in case it rains.”
The time that moms and grandmothers invest in the lives of their children pays long-term dividends that are best revealed through hindsight. Some of the earliest memories of time my Mom spent with me include the two of us sitting at the piano and her playing and singing, before I knew how to play. Many times, while doing something as mundane as washing dishes, I catch myself gazing out of the kitchen window longing for the next time her car might ever pull into my driveway.
Every now and then, when my house is completely clean from top to bottom, I will fluff my final throw pillow and curl up on the sofa with a cup of coffee, a good book, or a football game. That is when I can close my eyes and feel my Mama with me, for I know that somewhere she is doing the very same thing. The smells from the pots on my stove coupled with the smell of cleanliness trick my senses into thinking she is there and I know that she is not only with me, but she is in me. If I miss her too much, I can just look in the mirror laugh at how I am becoming her everyday.
After she comes for a visit, my house eventually becomes disorganized and dusty again. Just to keep up with my Mom’s magic, I’ll vow to either develop something like obsessive-compulsive disorder or just clone myself. The time will go by and then there will be some holiday like July 4th when we can be together again.
So, of all the wacky days to celebrate this May, I know I will be taking time to not only celebrate all mothers on Mother’s Day, but to celebrate Mama and try to become for my son what she always has been for me. I hope you will do the same, Dear Reader, even if you cannot be with Mom in person. Remember, that she lives in everything you are.
Read Brandi’s column each month in The Cross Timbers Gazette newspaper. Follow Brandi on Twitter @BrandiChambless