From Where I Sit

By Pat Spilseth, Columnist

May has several holidays when most of us take time to remember mothers, veterans, departed family and friends and graduating seniors. It’s a month of celebrations and thankfulness. 

Though times have changed, traditions stick with me. I love remembering how my mother would always observe Memorial or Decoration Day by bringing a red geranium to the graves of her parents and relatives.

Armed with sharpened silver scissors, a trowel, white work gloves and a red geranium, Mom would enter the cemetery at Immanuel Church just outside Starbuck, Minn. She reserved the last days of May to decorate the graves, clip grass and weed dandelions and crab grass encroaching on the treasured headstones.  

It was tradition…a gentle, honored custom for Mom to visit the family graves around Memorial Day. Geraniums were her flower of choice to plant at the cemeteries: she knew they could withstand the rains and hot sun of summer. They’re sturdy, just like the folks who had passed on, lying beneath the granite headstones.    

Decoration Day is a fine time for remembering loved ones who have passed away. It’s tradition. Women and men sell poppies; trumpets play that haunting melody “Day is done…Gone the Sun…” at the cemetery, and a small group of aged veterans march in parades with their uniforms stretched over expanded bodies. With flags and rifles, they form an honor guard and fire a round of shots in honor of service men and women. Memorial Day is the time to honor our veterans who fought that we might remain free.

We celebrate Mothers’ Day in mid May. “Mothers hold their children’s hands for a short while, but their hearts forever.” ~author unknown

What do you suppose our children will remember about their mother? I wonder… Will my Kate and Andy remember snuggling with me when they were small as we read books? And will they remember the play groups, gobbling Mom’s chocolate chip cookies and our dinosaur and princess birthday parties? Will Kate remember rolling out cookie dough, twisting the red and white dough into candy canes? What about those Halloween pumpkin and dinosaur costumes I sewed? Will they remember when I washed their mouths out with soup for saying forbidden words? Will they remember when I sat on their beds listening to their sad tales of hurts?  

What will the internet say about our modern day mothering practices a hundred years from now? Interesting, isn’t it, how we moms tend to remember the happy times of motherhood and shadow the hurts and disappointments. Perhaps that’s one of the best features of being a mother. Nothing beats the joy of a big hug accompanied by “Love you, mom!” That’s priceless.

Mildred B. Vermont wrote words that many of us firmly believe. “Being a full-time mother is one of the highest salaried jobs…since the payment is pure love.”  

May and June are graduation days for our high school and college seniors. To be or not to be… should I be a tech whiz, artist, politician or should I go into sales, the law, education or medicine. What field should I pursue? Maybe I’ll take a break from the books and travel…

Each year, as spring merges into summer we hold graduation ceremonies and host parties for our seniors, hoping to launch them into a new life. Parents hope their children will be able to get good training, find a job and friends to enjoy life with. We want the “good life” for them, a life like we’ve been able to enjoy. We hope they will be able to have a family, afford a home, a car or two and some free time to add to their life.     

Though it’s an exciting, hopeful time, graduation is also a scary time for kids and parents. We desperately hope that we’ve given them a good foundation in values, money management and ideals. Our fondest wish is that we’ve “given them wings” to fly independently. 

Graduates, I wish a successful, happy future for you. Your parents have tried to prepare you to be independent and resourceful. It’s been reported that in today’s fast-paced world, today’s young people may have seven career changes. It’s a  new world out there of constantly evolving technology and ideas. Hold fast to your values and remember your dreams.  

Enjoy these traditions life offers to us. Memories influence how we and our children live our daily lives. 

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