Saturday, May 9, 2015


Grandma Ina surrounded by five of her six children, c. 1953

I’m always very happy over my Mother’s Day remembrances. I feel lifted up and carried along on my children’s love and faith and feel like life has been successful after all. So accept my appreciation of all you have meant to me and of your gift and thought on this last Mother’s Day. ~ Ina Dobson to Vance, 1933

Many of the online sites I follow have reminded me every day for three weeks that Mother’s Day is coming up and I should do something about it – perhaps make my mother a shawl, an afghan, or a quilt. As the days ticked by, the projects became simpler -- quick potholders, book covers, table runners, and placemats. Eventually the pitch became "it's still not too late to make a last minute gift for your mother." Now they just want me to get her a gift certificate so she can make her own quilt, afghan, or whatever. Well, it's all beside the point for me because my mother passed on 18 years ago. Mother's Day is bittersweet.

Even when she was with us, I didn’t provide grandiose gifts for my mother. In fact, she put a lot of store in greeting cards, observing that it takes time and thought to select just the right card. She loved cards. And she was appreciative of a simple gift – like pretty soaps and stationery.

But make no mistake, my mother was sentimental about Mother’s Day, and it was best not to ignore it. “I make it a point to stay home on Mother’s Day,” she said. The best thing was to go and see her with your card and/or gift in hand. Next best was a phone call, in which case you would have mailed the card ahead of time. I believe Mother would have agreed with Ina’s that she was lifted through the faith and love of her children.

Well, I don’t know. Maybe it’s me. Maybe it’s a generational thing, or maybe times have changed -- but I’m just not nostalgic over Mother’s Day in the way my mother and grandmother were. Yes, to be honored by my children (and grandchildren) is a lovely thing, but reverence embarrasses me. I respect my children for fulfilling the demands of their lives, and I hope they respect me for the same thing.
My children often find I'm not at home on Mother's Day. I think it's healthy to have places to go and things to do. Of course, I’ll have my cellphone with me wherever I am (if it's charged and I remember to take it). And I love to hear from them anytime.  KW


Hallie said...

Ina seems so sweet in her letters, but the camera does not show it.

Kathy said...

This is an astute observation, though I don't know exactly how to respond. I just try to take the character that I see in her letters and use that to bring to life a farm wife of her era. My opinion is that she was not well-suited to daily labors on a remote farm. Her intelligence demanded more stimulation than she could find here. Undoubtedly others didn't understand her. I'm sure she had her disappointments.

She felt that my dad (Vance) understood her. Maybe he did.

Chris said...

Mother's Day is an interesting day. It can be problematic when one is dealing with multiple generations of mothers. Who, what, where... But a day for remembrances for certain.

Kathy said...

I agree, Chris, that the multiple generation thing can be problematic. When my children were young, it was all about honoring my mother, and I was distracted by that rather than insisting that my children appreciate me. I will say, though, that I heard from all my children and "feel lifted by their faith and love." I'm sure you had a similar experience.