The month of May: Honor thy mother…

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As I See It

By Elpidio R. Estioko

There is a divine commandment saying “Honour thy father and thy mother”. It is one of the Ten Commandments in the Hebrew Bible. The commandment is generally regarded in Protestant and Jewish sources as the fifth in both the list in Exodus 20:1–21, and in Deuteronomy (Dvarim) 5:1–23. Catholics count this as the fourth.

These commandments were enforced as law in many jurisdictions, and are still considered enforceable law by some. Exodus 20, 1 describes the Ten Commandments as being spoken by God, inscribed on two stone tablets by the finger of God, broken by Moses, and rewritten on replacement stones by the Lord.

I will not devote this column, however, to divine fatherhood or parenthood but motherhood in layman’s term because the month of May is the month associated with Mother’s Day!

Honoring motherhood or the mother of the family is what Mother’s Day is all about.

Mother’s Day was a holiday in ancient times but not in modern times, celebrated annually on the second Sunday of May. It is a day that commemorates motherhood and appreciates all mothers and mother-figures (including grandmothers, great-grandmothers, stepmothers, and foster mothers) as well as their contribution to society.

The history of Mother’s Day dates back to the 19th century, when women’s peace groups in United States of America often tried to establish holidays and regular activities in favour of peace and against war. A common regular activity was the meeting of groups of mothers whose sons had fought or died in the American Civil War.

In its present form, Mother’s Day was initiated by Anna Jarvis with the help of John Wanamaker following the death of her mother on May 9, 1905. The official service was on May 10, 1908, and the next year the day was reported to be widely celebrated in New York.

Jarvis then campaigned to establish Mother’s Day as a United States national holiday and then later as an international holiday. The holiday was declared officially by the state of West Virginia in 1910, and the rest of the states followed quickly.

Children send cards or gifts to their mother or mother figure or make a special effort to visit her, as part of Mother’s Day traditions. They take their mothers out for a festive lunch or dinner to show their gratitude. Some children even go all the way to cook their mothers large and elaborate dinners, thus giving their mothers a break from preparing food for the family.

The official flower presented to mothers on mother’s day is the red carnation, but it is also acceptable for a person to give just about any kind of flower. Other common Mother’s Day gifts are chocolate, clothing, jewelries or treats such as a beauty treatment or trip to a spa.

In the days and weeks leading to Mother’s Day, many schools help their pupils to prepare a handmade card or small gift for their mothers.

I won’t, however forget, how my children treated their mom on Mother’s Day (happens to be her birthday on May 10), in 2016 by surprising her with a weekend escapade to Seattle, Washington.

On that day, we celebrated her hard work and sacrifices in raising the children and acknowledged the impact of her influence in society. She raised the kids according to accepted norms which shaped them to become contributing members of our society.

Actually, this week’s column by reminiscing the mother’s weekend escapade is dedicated to all mothers, grandmothers, and mother figures in the whole world, especially to the three mothers in my life: my mom Leonor, my wife’s mom Sofia, and my wife Delia.

While not a holiday today, the second Sunday of May is a busy day where people appreciate the mothers either by sending those cards or gifts, or making a special effort to visit them. Most of them treat them in gourmet restaurants, buffets, steakhouses, and or holding special meals at home.

My late mom was a super mom. A model of sacrifices, and a symbol of unconditional love.

Together with my dad, she ably raised 13 children (10 boys, 3 girls) to be all professionals.

I am the 11th of 13 children.

My wife’s late mom was likewise a great mom to her 9 children (3 girls, 6 boys). She sacrificed a lot to provide food on the table, woke up late evenings and early dawns to change their diapers, and dress them to school during their elementary days.

Delia, my wife, is a wonderful and loving mom raising 6 children (3 boys, 3 girls). She took care of them from day one to present. She makes sure they eat their breakfast before going to school and to work; she cooks three regular meals a day plus two light meals in between (merienda); does the laundry; and in the evening, calls them and traces their whereabouts when they are not yet home at about 9:00 p.m. She can’t sleep if one of them is not yet at home. She takes care of them when they are sick and attends to their daily needs. My children look at their mom with authority and respect.

I mentioned the surprise weekend escapade tendered by my children (Gigi, Jojo, May, Jayson, Tweety, and Paul) to their mom on Mother’s Day. It was a 3-day expression of gratitude and show of appreciation to their mom for all the things their mom did to them and in raising them as good children.

Boarding the early Friday morning Alaska Airlines 6:30 a.m. flight from San Jose Mineta International Airport, we arrived at Seattle at 2:15 p.m. and immediately proceeded to the Enterprise Car Rental office and rented an 8-seater Ford Expedition.

With Jayson as the driver and May the navigator, the 3-day escapade brought us to places like Lola Restaurant at the city’s 4th Avenue; the 1st Starbucks Store (Original Starbucks) at the Pike Place Market in Downtown Seattle; the Seattle Bubble Gum Wall near the Alibi Room which emerged as a tourist attraction, instead of a mess; and the fish market (vendor throwing fish selected by customer to another employee for packing before handling it to the buyer).

Then we visited the famous Space Needle up to the 520-feet observation deck; the Chihuly Garden & Glasshouse in honor of artist Dale Chihuly who lost his sight in one eye; Chinese Restaurant at the Great Hall Shopping Mall; and checked in at Renton’s Marriott Hotel.

We also went to Washington Park Arboretum; the Snoqualmie Park Water Falls, a 268-feet (82 m) water fall on the Snoqualmie River between Snoqualmie and Fall City, Washington.

We ate at Teriyaki restaurant for lunch and then to the Jimmy Mac’s Roadhouse at Renton, famous for “Texas-style” steaks with their signature dish Dungeness crab, crawfish chowder, BBQ baby ribs, and many more, for dinner.

On Sunday afternoon, we flew back to San Jose Mineta International Airport.

Children, thank you for honoring thy mother! It was indeed an excellent week-end escapade!

(Elpidio R. Estioko was a veteran journalist in the Philippines and an award-winning journalist here in the US. For feedbacks, comments… please email the author at estiokoelpidio@gmail.com).

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