The Mother’s Day Gift That Keeps On Giving

Something About Nothing by Julie Seedorf

Published in the Albert Lea Tribune the week of May 8, 2017

“Children are the anchors that hold a mother to life.”  — Sophocles

File May 09, 10 49 34 AMAs a mother, it is hard to let go of my children and let them lead their lives their way. I want to protect them from making the same mistakes I or others have made in the past. I pray for them every day and they are never far from my thoughts. They are always in my heart. Being a mother was the most important career I can have. 

I love to watch my grandchildren grow and see the way they mimic some of their parents’ gestures when their parents were young or how they grow to resemble another family member. I love to see them develop into their own personalities.

I think most mothers feel the same way. I have noticed when talking with other mothers on my writer’s journey there are many lonely mothers out in the world. They are not lonely because their children don’t love them; they are lonely because life for their children has become so busy a phone call or a short visit may only happen occasionally, or on Mother’s Day. But life is busy, perhaps busier than my generation when we were raising our children. Plus, there is also the distance many families now face with children living all over the United States and abroad.

Mother’s Day is next Sunday. The stores are full of flowers, and restaurants are filling the advertising spaces with ideas of gifts for that special mother. While gifts are nice, I have a feeling that what mom wants is to spend quality time with her children, especially if you are a mother whose children no longer live in the area or live at home.

Those of us who have lost our mothers will tell you that perhaps we can give you this advice because of regrets from the past of the things we never did and said while our mothers were alive.

My family wasn’t a hugging family, so I can probably count on my two hands the number of times my mother and I grabbed each other tightly and gave a hug. When we did it always felt awkward because that was not our relationship. But now, I wish I had one more awkward hug I could give her. I wish I listened when she talked about her past. I wish I made it a habit of asking about her day more often.

In conversations with other mothers I have heard the reasons why kids, adult kids, don’t call their moms at least once a week, or if they live close, stop in for a visit. And because we are moms and we love our kids, we accept what is happening with their life because we don’t want to put more pressure on them. We always want to make our kids’ lives easier. We have all heard these words in conversation: “The kids are busy. They run from morning until night between work, household chores and getting their kids to their activities. They say they just get busy and forget to call.”

Every person needs someone in their life to ask them about their day. Every person needs someone to care about how they are feeling. It might take a few minutes for a phone call, but those few minutes may make a difference in the life of a mother, especially if mom is older and less mobile.

I watch as everyone sits in restaurants on their cell phones; I do too. And I wonder if we put away our texting for a few minutes — if we turned off the television or took a five-minute break from the hectic schedule if there would be time for one five-minute phone call to mom.

I am blessed as I already have a Mother’s Day invitation this year. My kids live within two hours, and I visit with them on a regular basis. I hope that continues as I grow older and am less mobile.

Near or far, take the time to give your mother a Mother’s Day gift that lasts all year. Give her a gift certificate with a promise to call her once a week, or if you are close by, stop in occasionally and have a cup of coffee, give her a hug and ask about her day. Let her know that no matter where you are, she is a priority when it comes to keeping in touch. After all, you were a priority of hers from the minute you were born, and she would have it no other way.

Wells resident Julie Seedorf’s column appears every Monday. Send email to her at hermionyvidaliabooks@gmail.com.

Ask The Youngsters The Meaning of Labor Day!

labor dayLabor Day is celebrated the first Monday in September to honor American workers. It is a tribute to the contribution workers make to the strength and well-being of our country.  The first Labor Day was celebrated Tuesday, Sept. 5, 1882, in New York City, planned by the Central Labor Union. In 1884 the first Monday of September was selected as the holiday. It is referred to as the “the workingmen’s holiday.”

There is dispute as to who the father of Labor Day is: Peter McGuire, general secretary of the Carpenters Union of the Brother of Carpenters and Joiners and also co-founder of the American Federation of Labor, or Matthew McGuire, a machinist and secretary of Local 344 of the International Associations of Machinists.

As with so many traditions that we celebrate, the reason these holidays are celebrated is lost in translation. I wondered how many young people understood the reason for the Labor Day holiday. Many do not. To the younger generation Labor Day is the last hurrah before school starts, fall sets in and people get back into schedules after the summer. Many do not know why the holiday is called Labor Day.

Over the years there has been a big shift in our nation. Unions are not so prominent anymore. Factories and factory worker jobs have disappeared and moved overseas. Factories used to be part of the backbone of labor and provided good incomes for families. Factory workers were proud of their work.

My uncle worked for Douglas Aircraft Company starting somewhere in the 1940s. The company merged and became McDonnell Douglas in 1967. They were an aerospace company. My uncle and his co-workers were proud of their work and liked where they worked. He liked the working environment and felt the employees were treated fairly by the company. His pay was very good. He worked there from the time he was a young man until his retirement at the age of 55. The company had very good retirement benefits letting him retire early, a benefit for the hard work he had put in with the company.

We need to remember the reason for the Labor Day holiday. We need to teach our children the history of the holiday. We need to embrace the workers of America and that includes jobs that are not glamorous and sometimes are downright dirty.  We need to honor those who pick up our trash, clean our bathrooms, work in factories for low pay, take care of our children and our elderly, work at home-based businesses and work as CEOs of companies. We need to honor the police, the medical doctors, the teachers and whoever works to put food on their table, whether it is those who are wealthy or those workers who scrape to put food on their table. They all make up our great country of America.

Laborers today, whether they are a clerk in a store, a waitress or a company person, need to feel appreciated. I had a problem with book piracy on Amazon. I was impressed by the fast help I got from one of their employees by the name of Selene. I have never had a better experience anywhere, and it was because of Selene. I asked her if she liked her job. I knew the answer before she told me — it was yes. I already knew the answer because of her helpful and cheerful attitude. I could feel her smiling through the telephone. She is happy working for this company. It followed through to the service she gave me. She felt appreciated.

In talking to other workers at other companies, many were just happy to have a job. Some had a problem coping with the stress of their job because of bad management, a difficult boss and rude customers. Yes, folks, we as consumers can be a rude bunch, and we as bosses can be more concerned about the bottom line than our employees. We need to keep that in mind when we celebrate Labor Day. Being in the labor force is not always easy but people stick with it to put food on their table. Without the labor force our country would be at a standstill.

My uncle worked for McDonnell Douglas his entire working career. That doesn’t happen too often now. Companies aren’t always loyal to their workers, and workers aren’t always loyal to their company so the workforce is constantly changing.

On this Labor Day talk to your children about the value of the American worker and what they contribute to the strength of America. If you don’t know the history of the holiday, use your handy-dandy search engine on the computer for a quick history lesson. We can’t go forward with success unless we visit the past and know our foundation and what kept it strong. Thank you to everyone in the workforce today. You are a valuable asset to our country.

A Kindle Countdown for Snicklefritz!


In honor of Granny Forks A Fugitive being out I decided to run a Kindle Countdown on Snicklefritz, my kids book or also for young at heart adults. It will run all week. Here is the link. If you want to share I would appreciate it. Get the word out and don’t forget to tell them about Granny Forks A Fugitive too. Snicklefritz