"A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie."
-- Tenneva Jordan
Unless you've made arrangements to dine at any of the restaurants that call for reservations this weekend, you're likely not to be served, even if you claim to be a regular customer. In case you haven't been paying attention, this coming Sunday is Mother's Day.
Although the practice of honoring mothers dates back to the Greek and Roman eras, it wasn't until 1914 that President Woodrow Wilson signed the resolution declaring every second Sunday in May as Mother's Day.
Anna Jarvis, an activist and social worker, was the person responsible for initiating that holiday.
During my childhood, my father operated a neighborhood grocery store. My mother worked alongside him managing the counter and keeping the books.
She also did the family cooking -- except for Sunday breakfasts when my dad took over -- in addition to all her other household chores. Raising three young boys during the Depression must've been exceptionally hard on my mother, although I never heard her complain.
I grew up in a generation that expected fathers to bring home the bacon and mothers to stay at home, tend the children and maintain the dwelling. My mother's tasks were made more difficult since she understood and spoke only limited English and was not fully aware of all
Following our family's internment in a concentration camp in Utah during World War II, my dad became ill and was transferred to a hospital back in California, leaving my mother solely in charge of my brothers and me to face an uncertain future.
Looking back at those years, I'm sure there were many occasions my mother wanted to cry out loud, but like most women of her generation, she remained stoic and toughed it out in the presence of her children.
Although my mother never acknowledged it, I knew I was a handful for her at times, even in my later years.
It wasn't until I married and had children of my own that I fully realized what raising children requires, as my mother had often said.
Before we had our first child, my wife wanted to be assured that we could live on one salary -- a classic example of men thinking big and women attending to the details!
It was when my father-in-law died and my wife accompanied her mother with his ashes back to the family burial plot in Japan that I experienced firsthand what a mother goes through daily in raising a family.
During her absence, I discovered from the outset that planning my daughters' agendas each day and preparing their meals, besides all the other household chores, was no simple task. And any preconceived notions I envisioned of housewives having ample time to socialize during the day or their spending long afternoons in front of the television were quickly put to rest.
Needless to say, I was ecstatic to see my wife when she returned home from Japan!
There's an old saying -- the text of which I don't readily recall -- that ends with " ... but a woman's work is never done."
To my wife and to all mothers, I offer you my heartfelt thanks and wish you a happy Mother's Day!
Eizo Kobayashi is a Concord resident and a member of the Concord Senior Citizens Club. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.