This Sunday, I’m going to do something I should do more often. I’m going to call my mother.
Mother’s Day should be spent talking to the women who have shaped your life.
They’ll be happy to hear from us because they love us and worry about us and will never stop doing either.
Communicating in a world lived on computers has become much simpler but also much more distant and sometimes meaningless. I thought about this as I read an email I received from my federal government last week.
“We won’t make it without you Susan!” exclaimed the subject line.
The Liberals, it seemed, absolutely needed I, Susan, to purchase a sticker touting the fact that “My PM knows quantum computing,” or “I am a feminist (like my PM),” and, if I failed to do so, my government would be entirely unable to ‘make it.’ I didn’t purchase one and, somehow, miraculously the Canadian government is still functioning. Needless to say, someone in Ottawa greatly overestimated my powers as Susan to make or break a government through my sticker purchases.
The Liberals of course aren’t the only frequent flyers to my inbox. The BC Greens often tout my abilities. To the Greens, I am Stewart and I am a powerhouse. In fact, through my inbox, the Greens recently told me, “Your support has already helped us move the dial in the fight against Christy Clark’s generational LNG sellout,” and, “Thanks for being such an important part of that breakthrough.” I had no idea my doing nothing for them was so fantastically helpful. I’m inspired by my abilities as Stewart to accomplish so much without doing anything at all. Of course, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with these emails and I could very easily click the blue link that will apparently stop them from coming. I don’t click that link because I like knowing what the political parties in my country and province are up to.
I can’t expect them to get my name right, or to send each person on their mailing list a personalized message instead of a form letter. Such efforts would take a colossal amount of time that they just don’t have and, frankly, you and I just aren’t that important.
You and I do manage to score some free time every now and then though, and our mothers are very much that important. I assure you they will never click the blue link; they like knowing what we’re up to. If the Liberals can take the time to send me frantic, and increasingly paranoid, emails about how much money the Conservatives are raising, then surely I can take the time to tell the woman who raised me that I appreciate the time she took to make sure I never felt unloved or insignificant. Our mothers deserve more than form letters though.
Everything I am, I am because of my mother.
I chose my own path but she is the reason I stuck to it. There’s two simple reasons for this. The first is that there is a very real value in knowing you are loved and valued and that someone will catch you if you fall. The second is the fact that there is nothing quite so terrifying as disappointing your mother. “I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed,” is the stuff of nightmares Wes Craven could never dream to equal.
I can remember specific instances where the only thing that stopped me from doing something dumb was the fear of my mother finding out and hearing those words. We fear those words because we love our mothers as wholeheartedly as they love us. It breaks our heart when we let them down. I’m not going to treat every day like Mother’s Day, but I am going to make a Mother’s Day resolution this year to reach out to my mom more often; let her know how I’m doing and occasionally remind her how vital she has been to my happiness.
She’s not the only mother I need to make sure knows how much I appreciate her.
There is no memory I enjoy revisiting more than the image of my partner’s face the first time she heard Jr. cry and I instantly understood his life would be as blessed as mine. She is a sensational mother and an outrageously supportive partner and I need to work on making sure she knows I know that. I assume she understands that I understand how incredibly valuable and irreplaceable she is, but I also know that those kind of assumptions are what get men like me in trouble when we have no idea what we did wrong.
Let’s you and I take this Mother’s Day to think about how we can make the women in our lives feel appreciated every day because, thanks to my mother, I know there is a very real value in knowing you are loved.
Andrew Bailey is the editor of the Westerly News. You can find his weekly column ‘Behest of the West’ on page 4 of our print edition every Wednesday.