Happy Mother's Day - Martha Randolph Carr

Today is a celebration of the smaller moments that only the Moms still remember and carry in their hearts.

This holiday is about the Moms who showed up so often, our kids assumed we were sitting in the car waiting, which gave them the confidence to get back to the task at hand.

If we've done our job right, they have often taken us for granted, but in a moment of crisis, repeated something we thought they never heard because it looked like they weren't listening.

And so, in recognition this Mother's Day, every mother needs to be cheered by every passerby. In order to accomplish that, ask all of the kids who call you, Mom, to give you a giant, yellow, spider mum corsage, with a big yellow bow, big enough to cover a shoulder. I plan to pin mine on there and wear it proudly till bedtime.

I am probably a little young for the familiar mark of motherhood, but I don't care anymore. I'd like my due, and as all parents know, once the offspring gets to be in their 20's, they take off for parts unknown with a few notable exceptions.

Louie, whom I raised, will call from several states away when he's not feeling well or just got a promotion, or in the middle of a sudden emergency. I've figured out when to just say, I'm sure you can handle it, when to say, congratulations and when to start figuring out how to get on a plane.

Nattie, who needed a fill-in mom, is in her early 20's and enormously responsible. The shopping is the best because there's nothing like a 24-year-old to stop you from buying something dowdy, and she knows more about makeup than anyone behind the counters. A recent promotion will also take her far away from me for now.

Doug, my oldest, and another who needed someone to be there to call Mom, is happily married in the suburbs and talks to me about the house, the garden, the job, the son-in-law. All of it is good stuff and about them, as it should be, except for today.

Today, whether they know it or not, is a celebration of all the moments spent figuring out over the phone how to help them get the car fixed, and the insurance to pay for it.

It's about sitting at the kitchen table with a manual helping another study for the securities test while trying to remember my own high school math. And it's about sitting bundled up in the rain and the wind watching football practice, even though I never quite got the rules.

It's about letting all of our kids understand that we believe in them and know they can do great stuff, and even managing to sound like that in a text or over the phone.

Just so all of the progeny knows, we were only making it look easy. It's actually a lot of work to shut off the good advice and let them gain their own footing in life.

It's even harder to watch grown children trip or fall and only offer words of encouragement as they learn how to pick themselves up again. But that's our job and we know that when done well, we make ourselves obsolete, or at least way in the background.

That is, except for Mother's Day when something a little showy is in order. No roses or tall lilies, both of which are too hard to parade around all day. A nice big spider mum corsage is just the ticket. And if Doug is reading this, none of those tiny little mums that resemble dandelions and are an impulse buy in the grocery store.

Everybody take the time, stop by a florist and do it up right, so that your mom knows you actually did notice she was always there when you needed her. Happy Mother's Day everyone.

Martha's column is distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons Inc., newspaper syndicate. E-mail her at: Martha@caglecartoons.com.