Sunday, May 13, 2007

Mother's Day

Mother's Day - now there's a day we can all get behind. We took Mom O out to Mother's Day brunch at the Lord Beaverbrook (now the Lord Beaverbrook Crowne Plaza, after its most recent changing of hands and top-to-bottom renovation), which is a bit of an institution here in Freddy. It was a very, very pleasant time. She's good company, arch and funny and chatty, and interested in current events and politics as well as keeping up with the family gossip. 'Specially good this year was salmon in a raspberry sauce. We saw "C" and her mom there, too, as well as Husband's co-worker and friend "Dale" and his wife and daughter.

Mojo and Veronica got me a card, which was a surprise and a very pleasant one, and then they picked up the tab for lunch, too. In both cases I expect their Dad had a very significant hand in things ('specially since they're not allowed to leave the house), and I think it was very sweet.

Then after dinner I called my own Mom back in Newfoundland and wished her a Happy Mother's Day. I recall a time not so long ago before we switched over to fibre optic telephone lines in Atlantic Canada, when getting a line to the island was a significant challenge on Mother's Day! It was a known phenomenon - so many people had moved off "The Rock" for work, but tried to phone their Moms in that family-centred culture, that the lines to the island would become hopelessly tied up from about 9 in the morning until around 11 pm. You'd start calling whenever you could and would just get a beep-beep-beep signal, and you'd re-dial and re-dial until you lucked into a line. That was the routine for a number of years after I moved to New Brunswick. Now, between the fact that I exclusively use a cell phone, and the other advances in technology, what was once a common cultural meme is gone.

She got taken out to dinner, too, and she got the card I sent her. Got to say hello to my Dad as well. "Watch it," I said. "You're cutting into your Father's Day call, you know!" He sounded happy and well, as did she, so that's good.

CBC Sunday Morning did a little feature this morning where they asked celebrities and politicians what the best advice was that their moms had given them, or the best thing she'd taught them. That set me to thinking, and while she taught me a lot of good stuff ("Being polite and having good manners will get you ahead in this world" not least among them!), I think the single most valuable thing she instilled in me was a deep sense of social justice.

Under that great big tent - "social justice" - fall many important sub-messages. She taught me in the absolute equality of the races. She taught me in the absolute equality of the sexes. She taught me that if you had something, you shared it with your brother who didn't. She taught me that you reached out your hand to your brother who'd fallen by the wayside. She taught me that gays and lesbians were God's children and God created them and God loved them. She taught me to be proud of my country because, while it stumbles, it strives to enshrine and entrench these values. She taught me that, because we have power and they don't, that we have an obligation to be kind to and protect animals. She taught me the value of reading - she read to me and my siblings from infancy and spent every penny she could on books for the family. She taught me the value of an education - she'd had to leave high school to help support her family, and at the end of every University semester, I'd bring all my textbooks home and she'd read them - cover to cover. (I often say that I have the degree she deserves - I certainly didn't read them all cover to cover!)

She made me want to do good in the world, and if I've done any, it's a direct result of her.

In a world where families are changing at the speed of light and where families may include stepmoms, adoptive moms, birth moms, two moms, chosen moms, and (apparently) even critter moms, it's lovely that we still take the time to stop and honour the women (and, on Father's Day, men) who step up to the plate and take care of us when we're at the mercy of the big old world.

Happy Mother's Day to all the lovely mothers who read this blog now and then (I am thinking particularly of Ronnie and M.E.) and to all the wives who are the mothers and stepmothers of children of the gentlemen who read this blog (please pass that along to Mrs. Fort and Mrs. Fies) and to everyone else who's nurtured a little one.



Blogger Sherwood Harrington said...

What a beautiful post, ronnie. Thank you -- and I think I'll put a little note in my calendar to do a mothers' day post of my own next year. While she's gone, my mom still has a lot to say to those who'll listen.

You say of your mother, "She made me want to do good in the world...", and that is worthy of a sampler. You follow that, though, with "if I've done any, it's a direct result of her." I'm sure you've had something to do with it, too.

"...please pass [wishes of the day] along to Mrs. Fort..."

Done. And, I'm sure you don't mind, I'm passing a little of it along to Adrianne, too.

10:35 p.m.  
Blogger Ronnie said...

Your Mom must be very proud of you. You turned out just the way Moms hope.
And thanks for your kind wishes --


12:24 a.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hoorey for your lovely mother's day post! you're the kind of daughter to make your mother proud. my mother, god rest her soul, lost HER mother when she was only 2 years old, and she had a hard time adjusting when, after having borne four adorable little gentlemen and scholars, my brothers, this little tomboy (moi) showed up and embarrassed her till the day she died. (ha. she wanted a daughter, and she got me instead!) still, being a teacher before marriage, she'd taught me to read by the time I was 3. and she loved nature! she spotted everything that was newly abloom or different or fresh (hopkins's "all things counter, original, and spare") and always made sure i saw it, too. like your mom, she was absolutely death on prejudice of any kind. she was pretty and charming and full of fun. everyone loved her, and so did I. of course, this did not stop me from smoking off and on from the time I was 8 or wearing my big brothers' boy scout uniforms ("What have you got on??? Go back inside and put on your own clothes!!!") every chance i got. but what I got from her was immeasurable....full appreciation for life in all its glory, which she was always careful to point out to me.

thanks for including me in with the other mothers. (Other Ronnie, I like cats well enough, but I'm wildly allergic to them. I empathize....)


8:43 p.m.  
Blogger Brian Fies said...

I'll pass on your wishes to the missus. Thanks for them and the swell post.

9:20 p.m.  
Blogger ronnie said...

Thank you both. Sherwood, Adrianne was very much in my mind when I wrote that post, actually, since I'd just finished reading the Memorial blog post - I just didn't feel like I "knew" her well enough to mention her publically. So I'm glad you tipped the hat to her.

Ronnie, I've met a couple of your kids. You did a pretty outstanding job yourself :)

2:22 p.m.  
Blogger Sherwood Harrington said...

ronnie, I'm tickled to find that I'm not the only one obsessive enough to go back into a comment on a comment on a post just to change a one-letter typo!

4:25 p.m.  
Blogger ronnie said...

Oh, lord, Sherwood, it's sickness.

Carl Fink thinks he's a nitppicker? He's an amateur :)

Of course, when it's a name, it's a bit more grave than the average typo. Which I would've fixed, nevertheless :)


7:28 p.m.  
Blogger ronnie said...

Xtreme English a.k.a. ME,
Thanks for a ripping comment! I know your mother must've been a truly remarkable woman - because you are!

7:34 p.m.  

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