Happy Mother’s Day

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By VICKI BROWN

I love being a mom, but just like most mothers, I feel like I wasn’t all that great.

Now that my children are grown, I hoped that my children would forget the times I lost my temper of forgot to do something important for them. I hoped that maybe when I die and my children speak of me at my funeral, they would tearfully say what I have heard other people say at the funerals of their parents… “Our mother was a saintly, perfect example of a mother.”

Recently I asked them about it.

“What will say about me when I pass away?” I asked my two sons who are in their late 30s.

The oldest said, “I will talk about the hilarious way you say ‘football…like there are no o’s in the middle of the word. It’s just ftball.” Then he fell over laughing.

With a rather nasty look on my face, I looked at my younger son. “And what would you say?”

“I would talk about the time we kept trying to get you to say a bad word. We said it over and over, until you turned around in the car yelling at us and said, ‘Don’t you say x!&# one more time or I am coming back there swinging!’ We got you to say it after all! Hahaha!” he laughed falling over his brother. I admit, I was so mad at the time, I didn’t realized I had said the word.

But really? Really? This is what a combined 20 hours of labor has given me? Snarky, mouthy kids?

Well, luckily, I did better for my own mom once.

I worked at a small newspaper in Sumter County in the late 70s. Back then I typed all the copy on ticker tape, ran it through a computer the size of a Volkswagon, ran hot wax across the back of the photo paper that came out, cut up the articles and titles with an xacto knife on a light table, and then passed the work on to a man who set up the entire page. These days, everything is done on a tiny computer.

One day, Mother’s Day was approaching, and we had a staff meeting at the newspaper. The community events writer was an elderly lady who had been there just about forever. That day she looked at us seriously and asked for help.

“I have three ladies up for Mother of the Year for Sumter County. I am not sure who to choose.” She then proceeded to read each biography of the ladies in question, and the longer she went on, the more confused I became. Finally, I couldn’t stand it any longer.

“Hold on just a minute,” I said. “From everything you just read aloud to us, the only quality these ladies have going for them is that they each have a lot of kids. What else do they do but get pregnant?”

What did I say? Everyone looked at me like I had grown a third eye.

Finally, the snooty events lady raised her nose in the air and responded to my question.

“Do think you know someone better?”

(Glad she asked…and really that was what I was going for. I am sneaky that way.)

“Well, since you asked, the winner should be as accomplished as my mother,” I said.

“And what can she do,” asked Ms. Snooty.

“My mother can play the piano like a virtuoso, she can sing opera, she gives voice and piano lessons, she substitute teaches, she paints in oils on canvas, she holds workshops for the Baptist Convention, she does chalk drawings for audiences, she plays the autoharp, she sews most of our clothes, she bakes and is an excellent cook, she teaches sign language for USC, and she did and is still doing this with three children running around while taking care of a husband who is a minister and leading in the church,” I said. “Now THAT’S a great mom!”

Stunned, they all agreed, and the next week’s newspaper came out with her biography on the front and her picture.

Gleefully, I grabbed up several copies and went flying out the door. This was going to be the best Mother’s Day present of all time.

I ran into the house, gathered my two sisters, and mom and dad on the sofa, gave a little speech, and voila’, presented her with her gift…she had been named Mother of the Year.

Shocked, she was thrilled and humbled. She couldn’t believe she had been chosen. She was tickled to death, and I was proud as a peacock.

But then my snarky sister spoke up.

“Wow. So if you are giving her this on this Mother’s Day, whatcha got planned for next year? How are you going to top this?”

It was at that moment I thought of my mom’s only failure…she had given birth to my snarky middle sister.

Oh, well, Happy Mother’s Day to ladies who have given birth, have adopted children, or have served as a mother figure to other people’s kids. It’s a tough job, but a rewarding one.

But I still refuse to put two o’s in football.

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