I was making a pot of soup this morning and it got me thinking about Labour Day…. Strange I know …..but I’ll explain…..
Labour Day is celebrated annually on the first Monday in September to honour the achievement of workers. Labour Day has it has its origins in the labour movement. We in no small measure have to thank the labour movement for the current working conditions and benefits that we enjoy in this country. For me Labour Day, is also an opportunity to give thanks for all hard work and those who are not afraid of it. I was fortunate to grow up in a home where the utmost value was placed on hard work. My father worked hard his entire life and instilled in all of us a strong work ethic. All that being said, when I think of hard work, one of the first people comes to my mind is our mother.
Vivian George, my mother, married my father at age 17. She moved to a new community took on responsibility for her in-laws, and began raising a family. Over the first 21 years of her nearly 60 year marriage she gave birth to seven children. She spent the next nearly 40 raising us and helping us raise our own families. Mom is an inspiration.
Mom worked hard every day – she laboured in her full time role of mother. Sometimes the work was difficult, the hours long, and often thankless. But my mother reported daily without complaint. What she do for us was in no way a secondary role. When I visit mom now in Long Term Care, and hold her hand, I am reminded of all the work those hands did for me and for my siblings. Those beautiful hands suffered cold for us. They were burned in ovens for us. They were cut when preparing meals for us. They were dirty from cleaning up after us. They often got wet from wiping tears from us. They are hands that have been loving in acts that are great and small. Holding mom’s hand is to hold a reminder of the loving, caring, encouraging, supportive and strong hands of a hard working person who never complained about her work – a woman who loves her family. Mom worked long hours and she was always there when needed. When I was an adolescent mom took a job outside the home – but she did not give up the work she had at home as well. Sometimes that meant working long hours in a nursing home and coming home and diving into her role as mother. That responsibility never suffered.
At this point in time with mom in Long Term Care and me a good journey away from her, it’s often small things that bring mom to mind daily. Today it was the pot of soup. One of the little things mom and I had was around soup. Mom always put a can of Campbell’s Soup into her homemade soups. It was the final ingredient. Once she put it in she would ladle up some of the soup into the can and give it to me. My treat was piping hot soup out of the soup can before the others got some – perk of being the youngest! This was followed by by the questions; Are the vegetables boiled? Is it salted enough? It’s not too salty is it? Answers were generally yes, yes, and no. When I make soup I still take a can of soup first. Mentally ask myself the same questions. And on a day like today – offer thanks for the tender and caring ways my mother worked hard raising me, and my six siblings.
So on this Labour Day I thank you Mom for showing us how to work hard and excel in a vocation. I thank you mom for modelling hard work for us all.
And I offer this prayer from Forward Day by Day ….
Almighty God, you have so linked our lives one with another that all we do affects, for good or ill, all other lives: So guide us in the work we do, that we may do it not for self alone, but
for the common good; and, as we seek a proper return for our own labour, make us mindful of the rightful aspirations of other workers, and arouse our concern for those who are out
of work; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Dear father Kevin,
Thank you for your blog today about your wonderful mother and Labour Day.
Your mother reminds me of my mother who was also married at 17 and raised 13 children who are all doing well thanks to her hard work and relentless dedication to all of us. Both our parents worked very hard to raise all of us, however our mother also handled the family finances and she could stretch a dollar a very long way. We learned from both of our parents that success is 99% perspiration and only 1% inspiration. Unfortunately, our mother passed away earlier this year just short of her 86th birthday and we miss her dearly. Enjoy your mother and God Bless.
Thank you Joe for your kind words and for sharing memories of your mother. I am sorry to hear of your mother’s death. May she rest in peace and rise in glory.
Thank you Kevin – this brought thoughts of my Mum to mind too and the great work ethic we learned from her also – whenever I am making anything in the kitchen I can hear her saying ” Tidy as you go”
Our mums have a great influence on us
Thanks for sharing I can vision all that she had said to you because I had the privilege to have known her in her earlier years. I still have the honor in visiting her still. Love the memories I had shared with both your parents
Thank You Verna
Your visits are appreciated
Thank you Kevin for the wonderful blog about Mom!! You brought the tears!!! Love those memories. Jennifer so loved Mom’s red soup (as she called it). I remember the Campbell’s soup. I baked Blueberry Muffins yesterday and took some to her. Mom’s recipe by the way. A wonderful description of our mother and thank you for that!! xo.
Ohhhhh….Blueberry muffins….. yum…. would love some of those right now
This was a very beautiful piece Kevin. Thank you.
Thank You Ann for your kind comments
This was very meaningful to me, Kevin, as we moved my Mom to hospice care this past week. At 89 years of age, I was reminded of all the time and effort she spent taking care of us!
This must be such a difficult time for all of you.
Your Mom remains in our prayers as she enters into this very sacred time on her journey,
and you all remain in my prayers as you journey with her.
Thank you for commenting on this blog
Tears to my eyes and many memories of my own mother. Thank you.
Grace and Peace
Thank you Pat for your kind comments – glad to have stirred memories of your own mother.
Yes Kevin, this brought me to tears as well. No one can ever match Mom’s soup! Or her blueberry muffins! We have been blessed with a wonderful mom! Hard visit yesterday to say so long to her till I come back again. Love you, Elaine