Mother’s Day Musings

Sunday is Mother’s Day. Advertisements for Mother’s Day gifts are peppering my social media feeds and filling up the inboxes of my email. I have a feeling of loss as I read the ads, as I am sure so many others do because our mothers are no longer with us.

It is another holiday celebrated, but which brings mixed feelings for many mothers and children out there. This year I will admit, holidays have been hard for me. Life is very different than I expected it would be. I do not know why we have this fairy tale idea of life, because in reality, life is messy. Relationships are messy, especially with families. It isn’t always a Hallmark moment. That is what makes Mother’s Day and families so special because they persevere together through the muck of life, held together by love, even though it isn’t always front and center but hidden, ready to come out at unexpected moments

In the 52 years, I had my mother,  I never missed a Mother’s Day with my mother. I might not always have been able to spend the entire day but I always made sure I visited her at some point in the day. I always made sure I gave her a gift whether it, large or small. It wasn’t a chore, it was something from the heart I wanted to do. We didn’t always have a great relationship and didn’t communicate things to each other in a positive way but the love never died.  I miss spending Mother’s Day with my mother.

I think my parents taught me Mother’s Day was a day to take the time to spend with the person who loved me and raised me. My dad, my mom and I always visited my dad’s mom on Mother’s Day. She only lived until I was six but that is one thing I remember. My mom’s mom lived with us, but my mom always made it a special day for her and my dad made sure we did that for my mom too. It was a celebration. It was a day for families to take time to be together.

It is 2019 and families are spread out far and wide. Many moms will spend the day alone because of various reasons. I will be one of those. Life is busy for families and getting together isn’t always an option. Some will be spending Mother’s Day alone because children and parents have been separated because of strife and disagreements. And so this holiday might be one of those that some want to pass over and not acknowledge it is happening.

I would give anything to spend another Mother’s Day with my mom and my mom-in-law, Dorothy. I am sure there are moms who have lost a child that would give anything to see them again on Mother’s Day.

It isn’t the presents, mothers want on this day, but the presence of their children in their lives, whether it be a phone call every week or a visit. The love of a mother never goes away.

I will visit my mother this Sunday at her grave. And then I might take myself to a movie and laugh a little. I will celebrate being a mother because I have three successful, healthy children. So if you are alone on this day, treat yourself. Take time to remember those who are no longer with us and then take the time to celebrate you because you deserve it.

Happy Mother’s Day, mom.



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

A Mother’s Hands

imageI have my mother’s hands. When I look at my hands today I see my mother’s hands. How did it happen? Where did the time go? My hands have aged into my mother’s aged hands that I remember.

My mother’s hands were not the hands of many women of her day or of today. In her older years her hands were gnarled with arthritis and bumpy from broken fingers and broken bones and wear earned during her years of hard work. My mother had a worker’s hands. She wasn’t afraid to use her hands to dig in her garden, help take care of the farm animals and scrub floors or do other tasks. She often wore gloves and she used lotion religiously, but still her hands were dry and cracked, and her skin as she got older thinned out and bruised easily. I remember looking at her hands and listening to her explanation that nothing she did to take care of them made a difference.

I don’t have worker hands or at least I don’t work as hard as my mother did at manual labor. I too use lotion and try and do the best I can to take care of my hands, but they are my mother’s hands. The skin has thinned with age and they bruise easily. My knuckles show the signs of aging and creaky bones. It doesn’t matter how much lotion I use, if I skip a day my hands become dry and bleed easily. When I look at my hands and see my mother’s hands, it brings me comfort and the blessing of memories.

I was an only child. My mother and I didn’t always see eye to eye. I didn’t understand her and she didn’t understand me. I didn’t always treat her the way she should have been treated but there is one thing we both knew through all our trials and that is our love bound us together through the good and bad.

Mother’s Day is this week, and I miss my mother on Mother’s Day. I don’t think I ever missed a Mother’s Day with my mother. I might not always have spent the entire day with her, but we did see each other on Mother’s Day. And even through my busy life and move, we talked every week — a couple times a week.

My mom didn’t really care about gifts. What she cherished the most was seeing and hearing from her grandchildren on her special days and during the week. To her those were her gifts.

As I ponder Mother’s Day in 2016 I want to offer a little advice for those younger whose busy lives lead them in other directions away from home. I have heard the words in conversations with others, “Oh, my kids are busy. They don’t have time to call. I understand that because they are busy with work and family. They have their life. It’s OK because I want them to be happy and they are so stressed I don’t want to add to it.”

Those words are words of love from a mother’s heart because that is what mothers do, they sacrifice for their children even after their children have left home. Mothers put aside their feelings because they love their family. Until you become a parent and reach older age you might not understand the love it takes for an older parent to put aside feelings on special days because they want their children to have it easier.

As a daughter I would give anything to be able to pick up the phone each week and talk to my mother. I would give anything to be able to ask her about her day and her week. I would give anything to be able to tell her I love her and I am sorry for all the times I didn’t take time to listen to her if only for a few minutes.

The best gift you can give your mother on Mother’s Day is the gift of a call and the promise you will take time to call regularly throughout the year. Ask her about her life and what she is doing. Show an interest in her day-to-day activities. Even in our older age we need someone to be interested in what we are doing. That’s all a mother wants is to be shown a little love and given a little time, even if it is a few minutes on the phone. The next time you think about telling your mom you haven’t called because you are too busy, remember that time waits for no one and there will come a day when you call, and she is no longer able to answer.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there. I wish you the gift of feeling loved and cherished because you had and have the most important job in the world, that is raising up children in the way they should go.

As I look at my hands and remember my mother’s hands I still feel the love of a touch, the hands on my brow when I was sick, the feel of her hug and the squeeze of her hand giving me assurance. Happy Mother’s Day in heaven, Mom. I love you, and I love the heaven line to talk to you. It is never busy.