‘If Mama Ain’t Happy, Ain’t Nobody Happy!’ — Be Happy . . .
About 50 years ago, when I was 18, I told my Mom I didn’t have to listen to her anymore — then I turned and walked away. I didn’t get more than three feet before she’d taken off her shoe, the heel of which she firmly planted on the back of my head: Message sent. Message delivered.
I mention this incident because of the impression it made on me — literally and figuratively. I’m not saying I never mouthed off to my Mom after that; I am saying I never turned my back on her when I did.
Which reminds me: This Sunday, May 10, is Mother’s Day. If your Mom’s still around, do something: Call her. Send a card. Buy flowers. Candy. Jewelry. Something. Anything — but not an appliance, unless that’s what Mum wants. As the saying goes, “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!”
Be happy . . .
And now some background:
In 1914, the United States Congress designated the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day. That’s 101 years ago, back when the American political system worked and our national leaders could agree on significant issues.
The inspiration behind the Mom’s movement was Anna Jarvis. She had previously organized observances in Grafton, W.Va., and Philadelphia, Pa.
It was President Woodrow Wilson who signed the official proclamation, the text of which described the day as a “public expression of our love and reverence for the mothers of our country.” The first Mother’s Day cards came out shortly thereafter, in the 1920s.
Each year the U.S. Census Bureau does a data dump about Mother’s Day. I mention this in case you wonder where your tax dollars go. It’s not just weapon systems, Social Security and highways. It’s about Moms, too.
The United Stated has 43.5 million Moms, defined as: “Number of women between the ages of 15 and 50 who have children.” These women, cumulatively, have given birth to 95.8 million children.
According to gov stats, the number of women who gave birth in the past 12 months was 3.9 million; of that, 36 percent were unmarried.
About one-third (30.3 percent) of women giving birth had a bachelor’s degree; a whopping 85.2 percent had “at least” a high school diploma.
The number of single mothers living with children (younger than 18) is 9.9 million, up from 3.4 million in 1970. The number of stay-at-home moms, in what is described as “married couple family groups,” is 5.2 million.
And what do these Moms get on their special day in May?
According to Gifts.com, “Flowers remain the most popular gift for mom on Mother’s Day. Vibrant, colorful fresh-cut flowers are universally loved and will brighten her day.”
A quick Google of Mother’s Day produces a gaggle of gifts, including perfume, pendants, necklaces, rings, earrings, books, slippers, candy, candles, cookies, coasters, cake, Kindles, tote bags, goat milk soap, serving boards, day-planners, reading pillows, custom rolling pins, and a Margarita mix kit — to name a few.
I’m giving my Mom a box of chocolate-covered cherries, flowers and maybe a pair of slippers — cushy, smushy, light-weight slippers. That’ll make her happy. And when my Mama’s happy, so am I.
Jim Lamb is a retired journalist living in Florida. He recently wrote his first book: “Orange Socks & Other Colorful Tales.” It’s the story of how he survived Vietnam and kept his sense of humor. His website is www.jslstories.com.