The month of May boasts two holidays that convey emotions that can range from pride and gratitude to shame and guilt. I’ve never been a fan of Mother’s day. No matter how wonderful my children profess me to be, I know deep down that I’m a fraud. There aren’t enough accolades in the world to convince me that I measure up to all those super moms out there.
You know who I’m referring to—those perfect, angelic mother’s whose children describe them like this:
Not once did I ever hear my mother utter a cross word.
My mother would always drop everything to listen to me.
My mother sacrificed everything so I could become what I am today.
Sadly, this wasn’t my M.O. I was the mom who shouted, All of you shut up or I’ll rip you lips off! I was the mom who sometimes took extra bacon, the biggest piece of pie and ate the middle out of the cake. I’m the mom who mastered the phrase Uh huh, uh huh, uh huh when she didn’t have a clue what the point of the conversation was. I’m not proud of it. Never mind all the things I did right, the times I was amazing. For some reason, on Mother’s Day my incompetencies seep to the surface. I’m sure most mothers don’t relate to this but I’m betting there are a few who do.
Unfortunately, there are veterans who feel the same way about Memorial Day. Most people would agree that vets are brave and courageous. Many have forfeited their health, mental and/or physical. Countless have made the ultimate sacrifice with their lives. Memorial Day is a day set aside to remember, honor and give thanks for their service.
It’s worth noting that for one reason or another there are those who prefer not to be honored. I personally know of one veteran who’s survivors guilt is so debilitating that he doesn’t want to be noticed or thanked. Memorial Day and Veterans Day are two dreaded holidays that bring up excruciating memories he’d sooner forget. Another I know feels that his assignment in the army was sub par to those who contributed in more profound ways. It’s difficult for him to see the complete picture with all the moving parts being essential. Memorial Day makes him feel like an imposter.
It’s easy to see my own inadequacies as a mother, but near impossible to minimize the service of any veteran. Sometimes true heroes mistake actual esteem for laudatory gibberish. I get it, I do. Still, today I need to make my voice heard.
What I want to say is this: Take it from a mother. No matter how you slice it, dice it or minimize it, large or small, your contribution is significant and I'm truly grateful. Thank you for your service.