17 May 2008
I was bogged down in a store aisle sorting through Mother's Day cards and having absolutely no luck. It is another Mother's Day and I was having trouble selecting the perfect Mother's Day card. I am tempted to settle for something less than perfect this year.
I was rummaging through all kinds of Mother's Day cards and not happy with any one. There were categories galore for my selection. There are cards to celebrate every aspect of motherhood a person could think of. Of course, I saw a couple categories I had never thought of before. After over a half a century of giving Mother's Day cards I am really at a standstill. I have gone Mother's Day card dry.
This year I have more Mother's Day cards to select than ever. There is my mother, of course, my mother-in-law, both of my daughters and my daughter-in-law. If this is not enough to confuse a person, not to mention driving me to the poor house, I do not know what is.
Because all of these women in my life are connected to each other, and always compare notes, it is impossible to get the same card for all of them. I know, I tried it one year and they still remind me of that faux-pas.
It was much easier when the children were small at home. I could do homemade Mother's Day cards and blame it on the children. I no longer have that luxury.
In the middle of my Mother's Day card-selecting muse, I made a brilliant discovery. Every card on the shelf celebrated every imaginable aspect of motherhood a person could think of; cards for new mothers as well as older mothers, cards celebrating the culinary genius of mothers worldwide, and cards that thank mothers for the marvelous contributions they have made to society in general.
There were such quotes from Abraham Lincoln as, "All I am I owe to my mother." And the famous one, "The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world."
But there is one category whose absence became rather conspicuous. This sent me on a hunt with a mission. I visited several stores selling Mother's Day cards and rummage through them very carefully and much to my chagrin that category was never addressed.
When people think of mothers, all kinds of things come to mind. Mothers have made a great contribution to society by devoting themselves to their children. Yet, I failed to find one card thanking mothers everywhere for the one supreme contribution they have made to society.
Now, perhaps, this contribution is so well known that it goes unsaid. However, I believe the time to deal with this "unsaid" aspect of motherhood has come. Why I have been selected to deal with this absolutely important contribution, I will never know.
Just in case there is somebody who has no idea what I am talking about, (I can hardly believe there is any such person), let me tell you.
The biggest contribution that a mother makes to our world is... potty training her children. Can you imagine what kind of world this would be if mothers everywhere would rebel against this and refuse to potty train their children?
This has to be one of the most important contributions to society mothers could ever make. According to our family tradition (and you know what they say about family traditions?) my mother potty trained me when I was six months old. I highly suspicion this, but my memory does not go back that far.
If this is true, all I have to say is either I was a brilliant baby or my mother had nothing in the world to do at the time. I lean strongly to the former explanation. I could have been a brilliant baby, and spent all my brilliance on learning how to go to the potty. Talk about flushing an opportunity down the toilet.
I have never, to my knowledge, thanked my mother for this. With this in mind, I searched frantically through the Mother's Day cards to find one that addressed this important issue. To my dismay, there was not one.
Can you imagine what this world would be like if nobody was potty trained? The air travel industry would be completely out of business. Nobody would ride a bus, anywhere. Do not even think about restaurants.
The world is a nicer smelling place because mothers universally train their little ones to go to the potty. Now why in the world is there not a Mother's Day card thanking mothers everywhere for this?
Reflecting upon this, I cannot help but think that the quality of my life, as it is today, is a direct result of my early learning to go to the potty by myself. This in and of itself is something to be thankful for.
Sure, mothers everywhere are typically wonderful cooks and have so many other wonderful qualities. However, this single act of mercy trumps everything else they do.
It is easy to remember the big things in life to be thankful for, but it is quite another thing to remember those small things in life.
The Bible reminds us, "Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;" (Ephesians 5:20 KJV).
It is the small things in life that really add up to quality living.
Rev. James L. snyder