It’s that time of year again when we will be honoring moms. But what about people whose moms passed away or who simply passed up the opportunity to be a great parent for whatever reason? Not wanting to leave out that portion of the population, I suggest we celebrate differently this year. Turning that holiday and that word – MOM – upside down, let’s celebrate the WOW women of our lives – the aunts, neighbor, teachers, etc. who were there for us and became our role models.
If any of your WOW women are still living, I suggest you write them and tell them about their WOW-i-ness. If they are no longer with us and only live on in your memory, a journal entry in their honor is appropriate. Don’t know what to write? Follow my example as I talk about five WOW-ies in my life.
My first home was with my grandmother. Who knew?
I read a story on Shape.com that contains information from the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists. It states that every female fetus develops all the eggs she will ever have while she is a fetus herself inside her own mom. This means all of us started our life inside our maternal grandmother!
This makes sense when I think of my Bubbie. When I used to run away from home, I ran to her house. When the elementary school let me walk home for lunch, it was likewise her house I walked to. Even when I had my first adult job, I often came to her place for lunch. It all makes sense now. She is my first and original HOME. I am thrilled to recognize her with this distinction on WOW day.
My neighbor, the poof, poof problem parker.
My neighbor, Margot, was the mother of five. In that she was eighteen years older than I was, her children were likewise older than mine. Everything that happened to her adult kids were previews of coming attractions for mine. I learned a lot from her. The biggest lesson was how to deal with unsolvable problems. Instead of carrying that weight around day in and day out, Margot would wave at the air as if she were waving away a bad odor, say, “Poof, poof,” and then we were done talking about that issue for the present. We parked it. We didn’t forget about it. We came back to it in the future when we had new information.
Unfortunately, I can’t poof, poof away the pain of losing this dear friend. Beloved Margot passed away in August, 2020.
My mom – WOW or not – you decide:
I was often annoyed with my mom. Her main crime was being ever present. But of course, she was ever present. How else would three meals a day magically appear for our family of four? How would the house always be clean? And what about all those clothes that got washed, dried, mended, ironed, and put away? And bills. Who would pay the bills? Mom to the rescue!
I did not have chores. Dishwashing was not my responsibility, nor was my laundry or cleaning my room. Evidently, my job was to find fault with Mom, and I was good at it! What can I say except this:
I’m so sorry, Mom!! You were the WOW-iest of WOW women, and I was a dumbbell who took a long time to figure it out.
Young women are WOW!
I once complained to my mom that she never served homemade cookies. She was astounded that I did not remember all the times she baked cookies only to have me request Oreos instead. As I see my daughters and daughters-in-law knock themselves out doing amazing things for their kids on a regular basis, I know that many of their actions will be forgotten, so let’s at least thank them for these baking skills and say WOW!
Chronologically by age:
- I thank Cheryl for all those pumpkin loaves,
- And Shana for the challah and hamentaschen,
- And Meg for the red velvet cheesecake,
- And Lisa for the rainbow cake!!!!
Dad as a WOW woman?
A male friend of mine raised his daughter on his own after the wife/mother left the family. He tells me that one of the greatest things about the situation was that every year his daughter gave him cards at Father’s Day and Mother’s Day. He was honored to hold both titles. So, let’s not leave out the special men in our lives when we celebrate WOW people.
And now, the bestowing of medals?
Two bits of Mother’s Day research are appropriate now. The first piece is from House Beautiful magazine. It tells us that during the 1920’s, France used to award medals to mothers of large families to thank them for helping rebuild the population after World War I.
As cool as this is – and I would love a Motherhood Medal! – acknowledging the WOW people in our lives does not need to be so grandiose. According to Town and Country magazine, one of the most popular gifts for Mothers’ Day is a greeting card.
The magazine goes on to tell us that the average American buys 2.8 Mother’s Day cards. Clearly, people do what I suggest here, use Mothers’ Day as a good excuse to celebrate the grandmothers, sisters, mothers-in-law, aunts, neighbors, teachers, etc. who have impacted their lives in a meaningful way.
So, whaddaya say? On Mother’s Day this year, let’s WOW these WOW people by remembering them!
If you’d like to know more about that WOW woman, Rose Kleiner, my mom, here is another story I wrote about her as a part of a book review for the terrific memoir by Kelly Corrigan, Glitter and Glue.