Wednesday 07 Dec 2016

Mother's Day
Matt Seinberg

As a kid, I thought Mother’s Day was a cool way to thank mom for everything she did. As an adult, I realized it's just a fake. A commercial day, dreamt up by the greeting card companies to sell more of their product.

Did you know that the campaign to proclaim Mother’s Day a national holiday began in 1905, in Grafton, West Virginia? Anna Jarvis wanted to honour her late mother, Anna Reeves Jarvis. In 1910, West Virginia was the first state to recognize it as a holiday. In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed the proclamation making the second Sunday in May a national holiday celebrating all mothers.

The irony is Ms. Jarvis soon became quite angry and dismayed at what the holiday was becoming. In the 1920s, Hallmark and other companies started selling Mother’s Day cards and Jarvis was so angry and upset that she tried to have the holiday rescinded.

All young kids manage to make their mothers a greeting card, in school, in art class or their general classroom. Mom’s like hand-made cards the best.

When I was a kid, my mother and I were very close. That lasted through my parent’s divorce and my moving out of the house, finally out on my own. The funny thing is, after my father left, he and I became much closer. Eventually, we lived together for a couple of year on Long Island before he moved back upstate.


I arrived home to find a red
Jaguar out front

After my mother remarried, our relationship changed. Please understand that I am a very good judge of people and their characters. I believe that comes from all my years in sales and management.

I arrived home one day to find a red Jaguar parked out front. When I got inside, my mother introduced me to this man she had been dating for a while. How did I not know this?

I made a comment like, "...hey, nice car." He tossed me the keys and said I could take it for spin. I did. I drove around the corner to my friend Irwin's house and told him to check out my new ride. He didn't believe me of course. I had to tell him the truth.

My mother and her boyfriend decided to get married before the winter, just so they wouldn't have to drive back and forth from Plainview to Glen Cove. On their wedding day, three of his five children didn't show up. Three girls appeared in the parking lot after the ceremony and said the following to them.

"We hope you get exactly what you deserve." Then they walked away. I was standing behind my mother and felt her tense up. These girls, his daughters, said this because their mother had died of lung cancer less than a year before. They didn't think their father should remarry so soon. This was their way of making them feel bad.

I realized, over the years, that my new stepfather was all about himself; what he had and what he could get. None of this impressed me. I was just happy to spend time with my mother and get a nice home cooked meal occasionally.

I wasn't a big fan of his kids and never really considered them family. They weren't particularly nice people and that made it hard to like them. At the most, I could tolerate them. It was all about them. I wonder why.

When my mother told me they were moving to Florida, I wished them well. I told them that I would most likely never see or hear from any of his kids again. I was right and didn't care.

Marcy and I would go down and visit my mother and her self-absorbed new husband, but there was something wrong. For some reason, my mother and Marcy weren't getting along. When Michelle was born, my mother and her husband come to visit, since she was the first grandchild. They wanted to play the parts of the proud grandparents. We were still living in our apartment in Westbury, so there was no way they could stay with us.

Let's fast forward a few years to 1999. We're now living in our house in Wantagh and Hurricane Floyd was about to hit. I was working in Queens, at the time, but expected to drive them, through this storm, to the airport. I refused and, in fact, I couldn't even get to work. They had to stay with us for a couple of extra days and were upset with me for not taking them to the airport.

It was so bad. We didn't talk for at least almost two years. Only when Melissa was born, in October 2000, did relations warm and we start talking, again.

Even then, my relationship with my mother was different. It was more distant, and certainly less friendly. I can't begin to tell you how uncomfortable all of this felt.

Birthdays, holidays and other events have come and gone, often with no word from my mother. I believe you get what you give, and while I don't mind not having contact, it hurts the kids more, and that's wrong.

Recently, my stepfather had some health issues and my sister Elyse told me about it in a text. I immediately called my mother and we talked for about two weeks. Then all of a sudden, it just stopped. I had left her a voice mail and never got a return phone call.

For my birthday this past February, my mother didn't send a card, she texted me best wishes. I didn't bother to respond.

Come on, texting someone on their birthday? Is that anyway for a mother to treat a son? In one of those conversations we had, she said to me, "You're my son, and I love you." Unfortunately, actions speak louder than words.

On Mother’s Day this year, I'll send a text.

I can't divulge what I got Marcy for Mother’s Day, but I know she'll be happy. It will include a nice card. I certainly can't and won't text her. She barely knows how to use her Motorola flip phone.

So, to all ,moms, have a very Happy Mother’s Day!

Matt Seinberg lives on Long Island, a few minutes east of New York City. He looks at everything around him and notices much. Somewhat less cynical than dyed in the wool New Yorkers, Seinberg believes those who don't see what he does like reading about what he sees and what it means to him. Seinberg columns revel in the silly little things of life and laughter as well as much well-directed anger at inept, foolish public officials. Mostly, Seinberg writes for those who laugh easily at their own foibles as well as those of others.

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