I may not be perfect but my friends are and they have excellent taste!
(First posted November 2013)
Many years ago my mother and I were having an argument. It wasn’t a negative argument, more a difference of opinion. But as I recall it was quite vehement. You see my mother had just made a comment that I strenuously disagreed with. She maintained that while her children were creative, she was not. My mother believed that she was just a wife and mother. Just! JUST!
I was raised by loving parents. They taught me to appreciate the world and to be curious about everything. Like most children I was born naked and ignorant. If anyone out there doubts the importance and value of a loving mother and father, then I respectfully say you’re nuts!
Not everyone has the great fortune to be raised in idyllic circumstances. Some people have the wherewithal to raise themselves to be good people. I basically didn’t have a choice. Being surrounded by good people there was no other way than to follow their lead. It was the path of least resistance.
I had a mother that every Halloween made my costume. That’s not creative? One year I was a black cat with a long black tail and whiskers. One year I was an alien with a javex bottle helmet painted gold and a corrugated cardboard belt with matchbox compartments also painted gold. With that one she apologized for not being able to make my ears look like Spock from Star Trek, my eyebrows did!
My mother fed us wonderful meals every day. She found ways to make us eat things we did not like, often without us realizing it. My mother used her charm, her wit and yes her force of will to raise three children to be responsible and caring adults. You think that’s not creative?
I believe that one of the most important jobs in the world is that of mother. Well, a good mother. A good father is also important especially if he has to take over the role of mother. I don’t have any children so I can only speak from the perspective of one that was raised by good parents. But the way I figure it, the time and effort it takes to raise children to adulthood is mind-boggling! To the mothers and fathers out there, kudos to you! The world is a better place because of the job you did raising your children. Now if that isn’t power I don’t know what is!
Let me leave you with a few pieces of advice my mother gave me over the years:
- always wear clean underwear, you never know who may be looking
- smile at people who are angry at you, it messes with their heads
- a good person does what’s right, even when no one is looking
- wallowing in self-pity is fine, for 15 minutes, then move on
- a woman should be good in two rooms in the house, and one of them is the kitchen
God love mothers!
A child once sat at her mother’s knee
And asked that tales be told
Of God and Jesus and Angels true
A world she could behold
A tender age, a tender mind
She loved the tales of God
A gentle Father to us all
A Son who once was flawed
The tales she heard so long ago
They stayed within her heart
And formed the woman she became
I think she’s pretty smart
The mother passed on to her rest
The child grew up to be
For you know, so long ago
That curious child was me
“Now you take care of your little brother and I’ll be right over there.”
Odelia was used to taking care of her brother for short periods. After all she was nine years old and quite mature for her age. Billy was only three and he needed a lot of taking care of. They were standing in line waiting for their turn. Actually Billy was strapped into a stroller and for the moment he was quite serene. However, Odelia knew it would probably be 15 or 20 minutes before it was their turn. A few moments later it began. Like most boys his age Billy didn’t like to wait so he started to squirm and then to whine.
“I don’t wanna wait!”
Odelia had been waiting for this moment and hoping it would take a little longer. She looked over at her mother but she was still deep in conversation with a sales clerk.
“Okay Billy, I’m going to tell you a secret.” That always got a child’s attention. “But you can’t tell anyone else, ever!”
As expected the young boy stopped squirming and looked at his sister with rapt anticipation.
“Okay.” He said quietly.
“This happened a very long time ago and nobody knows all the details but this much we know for sure.”
Odelia was a gifted storyteller and she knew her brother very well. His eyes were glued to her face and he hadn’t moved an inch. So she continued with her story. The tale she told was about an elf.
One of Santa’s elves was called Marvin. He was young and as it so often is with the young, he seemed forgetful. The other elves tried to instil in him the importance of what they were doing in Santa’s workshop but Marvin was too interested in playing with the reindeer and investigating how some of the toys worked. Unfortunately he also had a knack for breaking things. Soon the other elves pushed Marvin aside and tried to forget about him. When Santa heard about the troubles he spoke to Marvin but it didn’t seem to make any difference to the young elf. However, what we think isn’t always what is.
It seems that Marvin wasn’t trying to break things he was just trying to understand how they worked. He was only trying to help. When Santa heard this he decided to give Marvin another chance. He was told that if he broke one more toy he would be banned from the workshop.
Over the next few weeks everything went smoothly. The toys were being assembled and made ready to be shipped. Marvin did everything he was asked and nothing that he was not. Eventually everyone forgot about him. Now as it often happens, when you’re not watching, trouble will find you.
There was one particular toy that was new to the workshop. It had bells, and whistles and it had an engine. Usually that pretty much guaranteed that the children would fall in love with it. Unfortunately this toy kept breaking down. First the wheels were falling off when the Packers tried to wrap it up. Then the steering wheel wouldn’t work when it was tested prior to packaging. It even started falling apart on the line when nobody was looking. People started wondering if Marvin was the culprit but nobody could find him.
After a few days it was decided that the toy would be put aside until further investigation could be done. Obviously there was something wrong and there was no time to correct it. Everyone was working to a deadline that could not be shifted. And still no one could find Marvin.
The night before the deadline the last package was wrapped and put in place for shipment. Everyone congratulated themselves on the fine work they had done this year. There had only been one glitch and he seemed to have taken himself off the line. No one thought about him, no one worried about where he was or what he was doing. That was their mistake.
What the others did not understand was that Marvin was different. He wasn’t one to blindly follow the rules. He wanted to understand why the rules were in place. The only way something could be improved upon was to first know its nature. Marvin wasn’t trying to break things he was trying to understand how they worked. If you know how something works you can make sure it doesn’t break down.
When the others had taken the cars that kept breaking down and put them in another room Marvin had gone to see if he could fix them. In the days and weeks that no one missed him, Marvin had corrected every single issue in every single car. He had also wrapped them and prepared them for shipment. The others were very surprised when he presented them with what they thought were broken vehicles.
When Santa heard what Marvin had done he called him into his office and sat him down. What happened next is not known. But after a few minutes, Marvin exited with a smile on his face and a lift in his step. Obviously he had been vindicated. From that day forward Marvin had a new job. It was his responsibility to test each and every item that passed through the line to ensure that it was not easily broken. It was a task that Marvin took to easily. After all, if it could be broken he would find a way to break it.
“Are you next young fella?”
With everyone’s attention now on them Odelia quickly unstrapped her brother. An oversized man dressed as an elf lifted Billy on to the knee of Santa Claus and stepped back.
Billy looked into the face of the big fat man in the red suit and thought about what he had just learned.
“Ho ho ho! Little man what do you want for Christmas?”
Billy leaned close to Santa to whisper in his ear.
“You were naughty Santa. You should have been nicer to Marvin.”
With that Billy jumped off Santa’s knee and ran to his sister. He never looked back and he never forgot his lesson. Did you?