Mothers, Moms, and Mums

Paul - Eaton, Ohio
Entered on May 23, 2008
Age Group: 65+
Themes: family
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

I believe there are so many events in our lives that scarcely register on us until years later we remember them while staring into a cup of coffee.

I often awaken determined to be a better husband, father, and son; but knowing my life has been a patchwork quilt of times when I was none of the three. Now, older and hopefully wiser, I believe I have the capacity to understand the things which are priceless.

One Sunday morning when I was about six years old, I walked with my Grandpa Glaze to a tiny church near our home in Columbus. He was a wonderful and kind man with the same pot belly and stance I now see staring back at me in a full length mirror. On this particular Sunday morning an elderly church lady stopped us at the door and pinned a red ribbon on my shirt. The one she pinned on my grandfather was white. When we reached the pew in which he liked to sit, I asked him why our ribbons were a different color and he said, “Because today is Mother’s Day and your mother is still living, mine is gone.” That was my first recollection of any special occasion for mothers.

Over the years since that Sunday morning, I gave my Mom an assortment of cheap and crappy little gifts; a stuffed blue poodle; a 25 cent bottle of Blue Waltz perfume; flowers; and Mother’s Day cards (real ones when I remembered to buy them and handmade ones when I forgot.) Before you think I was a thoughtful child, there were many times I forgot completely and bought her nothing. My last minute “fake it phone calls” were sadly, the best I could muster. I feel a great deal of remorse as I remember my red ribbon mother of that Sunday morning more than 60 years ago.

I have often thought to myself, how in the hell could I have forgotten Mother’s Day when everyone talked about it; my own kids were making gifts for my wife; and every other advertisement on television and radio kept trying to remind me?

Then in 1997, my mother changed my red ribbon to white and I have never since forgotten my missed opportunities to express my love for her. Call me a day late, and a dollar short; but it would mean everything to me to give my mother a flower that she would probably kill in less than six weeks; or a store-bought card sending the very best message every time. I even think about buying her a couple of her favorite hotdogs, (fully loaded) from Philips’s Coney Island. Yeah, that would be something very, very special; but I live in the real world and my chance to do that will never come again.

I believe my Mom is still teaching me about life years after her passing; things like if it’s important, do it now; and seize the moment, because it will never come again.