Mother’s Day is coming. I know this because every retailer in sight is trying to cash in. My gym has a Workout With Mom! special. My email is full of mail-order offers for chocolates, flowers, perfume. The spa down the street is even giving discounts on eyebrow and lip waxes in preparation for the holiday, which seems really weird if you think about it too long, so don’t.
Yes, the crass commercialism is alive and well. But that doesn’t mean I disdain the whole notion of celebrating our mothers. In fact, I think the holiday ought to be expanded to include the entire month.
We should all start dinner each night with a favorite mother story. I’ll go first.
My own mother passed many years ago, but she would have appreciated the story I heard the other day, told by a single mom of my acquaintance. I’ll call her Nancy. This tale began a decade ago.
Remember those little dime-store turtles you could buy for a buck? You’d bring them home and they’d last a couple of weeks, then off to turtle paradise they’d go, usually via a one-way ticket on Toilet Airlines.
Well, Nancy’s boy wanted one of those little critters, and being a game sort of gal, she bought him one.
Weeks passed. The turtle thrived. Nancy cleaned the bowl.
Months passed. The turtle thrived. Nancy cleaned the bowl.
Years passed. The boy left for college and, yes, Nancy stayed behind and cleaned the turtle bowl.
Eight years after its arrival, the turtle showed no signs of heading to the great beyond. By turtle standards, it was quite a bit larger. It was time for a change.
A lesser woman would have introduced the turtle to the backyard or a nearby pond, but not Nancy. She did what a resourceful and brave mother always does. She found a way.
She loaded the turtle into a totebag, put on her darkest sunglasses and drove to the nearest Pets-R-Us. There she slipped into the row of aquariums, and after making sure no one was watching, she plopped her hard-shell roommate into a tank with its own kind.
Never one to take separations lightly, she returned the next week to assure herself that the relocation had gone well. You don’t live with a turtle for nearly a decade without committing its features to memory, so she quickly found him among the others. He seemed happy.
Now, I ask you, would anyone but a mother do this? I think not.
When Mother’s Day arrives, I will be thinking of Nancy and the other mothers I’ve known. Heroes, all.