• Cecil Lewis Jr.

Happy Mother's Day

Updated: Jan 3

Today millions of people around the world will celebrate the person in their life that they call Mom. To any of you that may be reading my blog and have someone you call Mom; to the American Mom’s, I wish you a very Happy Mother’s Day and to the German Mom’s, Ich wünsche dir einen schönen Muttertag.


The modern Mother’s Day began in the United States, at the initiative of Anna Jarvis in the early 20th century. Traditional celebrations of mothers and motherhood have existed throughout the world over thousands of years dating back to Ancient Greece and the Roman empire. In most countries, Mother's Day is celebrated on the second Sunday in May, among them the USA, Canada, most European countries, Australia, New Zealand, India, China, Japan, the Philippines, and South Africa. Some countries celebrate Mother’s Day on a different day than today. In the UK, (as they march to the beat of their own drum…..like driving on the left side of the road from the right side of the car) Mother’s Day always takes place on the fourth Sunday in the festival of Lent, exactly three weeks before Easter Sunday. Nonetheless, most countries in the world will celebrate Mother’s Day in some way each year.


Interesting facts (I pulled from the internet); more phone calls are made on Mother’s Day than any other day of the year. In the United States, 122 million phone calls were made on Mother’s Day in 2018 and Americans spent approximately 14 billion dollars honoring their Mothers on this day. Mother’s Day is one of the biggest international gifting holidays and is second only to Valentine’s day in flower sales (a good day to be a florist).


The literal definition of a Mother is this is the person who gave birth to you or it may refer to a female in your life who raised you and fulfilled this role in the absence of your birth Mother. However, for a special day like this to have had so much significance throughout history and still continues today, the definition of a Mother is a bit more than the person who brought you onto this earth.


Please be clear that I know, and you likely know and have heard stories about bad Mom’s. Life is not always a fairy tale and many Moms have failed in the role of being a Mother. But commonly your Mom is (or was) one of the most important people in your life. Hence, I have my own definition for a Mother. A Mother is a person that God placed the gift of a child into their arms to care for, to nurture, to guide, to teach, to discipline, to protect, to hold, to hug, to kiss and to love forever. (I would say, that is a pretty big responsibility)


What is pretty amazing that somehow this comes naturally to most women. All of the things that I used in my definition of a Mom seemingly come automatically. It is what Mom’s do. To effectively fulfill their duties and responsibilities, comes with much self-sacrifice during their lifetime. Furthermore, in a society in which 50% of all marriages end in divorce or situations that Father’s somehow walk away from their children and feel they do not have any responsibility (financial or parental), many Mother’s find themselves in the situation of also fulfilling the role of the Father.


The tradition of honoring my Mother on this day goes back as long as I can remember. Mother’s Day Sunday’s in our home often consisted of bringing Mom breakfast in bed, then we would prepare to go to church. On this day Mom always had a new dress for church and often times me and my sister had new clothes as well. Dad would always buy Mom a corsage on this day to wear on her dress. Often on this Sunday, the church would have a photographer come to the church and families would have their annual family photograph taken. I recall a photo in which I and my sister had matching clothing to my Mom, that she had made for us, as she was an awesome seamstress (no mine was not a dress, it was a leisure suit, what a great look, I am waiting for them to come back). After church, we would go for a family dinner, that often included my Grandmothers (Mae and Ethel) to celebrate their roles in our life.


In my adult years, the tradition continued. Mother’s Day was often celebrated at the Country Club with a big American brunch. All the children and grandchildren would dress in their finest clothes to come and celebrate Mom with greeting cards, gifts and flowers. My Mom would be bursting with happiness and pride to be surrounded by her family.


My Mom and my daughter Emily on Mother's Day several years ago

Today marks the 5th Mother’s Day since my Mom passed away. Losing my Mother is without a doubt the hardest and saddest thing I have faced in my life. My Mom and I were very close. Some might say I was a bit of a mama’s boy and well that is okay with me. Dad worked a lot in my teenage years and so Mom and I spent a lot of time together. I told her everything. I told her who the good kids were and who the bad kids were. I told her about my girl problems (which she informed me “no girl is good enough for you”), about my conflicts with friends, how things were going at school or work and shared with her almost every aspect of my life.


As an adult, it was very rare that I did not speak with Mom on the phone a few times a week, just to check in on her or for her to check in on me. About 15 years ago, I changed jobs and was assigned to home office. The concept of home office was new for me, and I needed to go somewhere to work for me to feel like it was a job. Hence, my Mom and Dad granted me use of their office in their basement in their condo and then use of their library when they built a new home. Every day, when I was not traveling, I would be in their home and I would get to spend time with Mom (by the way Dad, thanks for all the lunches). Mom and I would often go out to eat for lunch and Mom always paid with her credit card, she would say, “Dad’s paying today”.


Over the years, Mom continued to look after me and my sister. If she saw a need, she would talk to Dad and try to help in any way she could. I had made a decision in my college years to move to a town outside of Atlanta for a girl and it wasn't going well, as her parents did not like this Detroit boy. I remember getting a call from Mom, telling me to pack up my things and to pick her up at the airport at a designated time. Which I did and when she got there, we packed my things in my car and drove back to Michigan.


There was another time, the stove at my home had a gas leak. I am sure it could have been fixed but fixing it was not an option for Mom. She sent me to the local appliance store and had made arrangements for me to select a new stove that she and Dad would buy for me, to be sure that my stove and home were safe.


Mom’s caring for our family extended beyond me and my sister to the grandchildren, often sponsoring (funding) school clothes shopping excursions and the like. She was a believer in the concept of a good mattress. Once she and Dad bought my daughter a mattress that was more expensive than all the furniture in the bedroom. I just said to Dad the other day, if Mom saw the 4-inch Ikea mattress I sleep on today, she would be giving me some grief. And over the years she made every effort to attend key events in her grandchildren’s lives not only in Michigan but in South Carolina where my sister lives.


I could go on and on. Sometimes, as I write there are certain topics that strike up many emotions and well this is one of them. I had a great Mom, I miss her deeply. There is not a day that goes by that I do not think about her or ask myself what would Mom think. I had the words of the last message she sent me, tattooed on my arm. It was the first tattoo that I ever had and in an odd way, it was and still is healing to me. I often sense that Mom is still looking in on me and perhaps she is. Nonetheless, Mom, I wish you were here today so that I could honor you for caring for me and loving me and giving me the comfort of knowing that you were always there for me.


The last message from Mom.

I hope that each of you reading my blog will take a moment to honor the person that you call Mom. If your Mother has passed or if you come from one of those bad Mom situations, I would urge you to reach out to other special Moms in your life. It might be the Mother of your child, thank her for being a great Mom, it might be someone in your life that became your Mom or fulfilled that role in your life or simply a family member or friends that are great Moms. Moms are pretty awesome people, I wish you all a very special day.


A Mother's Day Poem I wrote to my Mom just month's before she passed away in 2014. She had Lewy-Body dementia and I was here in Germany on this Mother's day.

Mom,

I know that you can’t read this, but I am sure Dad will help you out

I want you to know I love you and this you should never doubt

I hurt because I am not there with you on your special day

So I hope somehow that you can feel the words that I have to say


These words I give to you on Mother’s day, for it’s all I have to give

Because for me every day is Mother’s day and it will be each day I live

Mom you made me who I am today and I carry you in my heart

So please know that even when I’m far away, we’re never far apart


Thank you for the life you gave our family each and every day

I have a treasure chest full of memories that no one can take away

You held me when I was hurting and you would hug me oh so tight

You listened to my problems and you could make everything alright


But you know what makes a Mother, is not just all the special times

It is how you guided and directed me, to prepare me for my life

You let me make my mistakes so that I could learn and grow

And you were always so very proud of me and made sure you let me know


You were there for me when I was in trouble and of course I was never to blame

You were my biggest supporter and I can hear you say my name

You never called me Cecil, but Cecil Jr. is what you would say

It has always been an honor to be named after the man you loved each day


Mom sometimes I get so angry, for what this disease has done to you

For it has taken away my Mother and there is nothing that I can do

Although your memory is fading and your life is nothing like you knew

Please know if I had one wish today, I would take your place for you

For all things you gave to me, it is what I wish that I could give

Because for me every day is Mother’s day and it will be each day I live


Love,

Cecil Jr.

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