Should you forget that special card, flower arrangement or gift, the words "I love you, Mom" may really be the gift your mom will appreciate the most, along with a few hugs and kisses on the cheek.
In past years, I have reviewed the history of Mother's Day and told of how my mother, after gathering her family around her, died peaceably, slipping silently from mortality into immortality with a smile of peace and satisfaction on her face.
She is still missed - and always will be. Our 70-year mother-son relationship was special. She and I worked together for more than 30 years, locating family ancestors and recording them in 12 family history books. Mother knew where every branch and twig fit on the family tree.
Researching and publishing our family history helped me know my grandmothers for generations back to the early 1600s. They were strong women. They had to be. Vicariously, I walked with them as they boarded small sailing vessels in the 1700s and 1800s in Scotland and Ireland, surrounded by those left behind and crying children, then spending weeks crossing the torturous Atlantic. I helped them carry on board their supplies - sufficient to last 18 months. And I helped them bury those who died at sea, or at their ports of entry or inland as they built their homes in the wilderness.
Once in America, I again walked with those women through the forests, hovering with them over open fires to keep the wolves at bay and cooked with them over open fires until their husbands could build a lean-to or a small log cabin. One grandmother tells of listening to "wolves hungrily howl a short distance away" with only a blanket-door separating them.
Another tells of a great-great-grandmother walking "across the mud flats of Toronto," in the dead of winter, carrying a 2-year old, my great-grandmother, and sitting on logs crying, not wanting to go on.
But with help from a loving husband, they arrived at their destination and built a one-room log cabin in the wilderness. They were my ancestral mothers - strong women - and mothers of large families. Some died in childbirth, often alone in the wilderness. Others lived to be a hundred, surrounded by family.
Tracing my family history helped me learn that each generation faces its own challenges. It is easy to think our ancestors' challenges were greater than today's challenges. But I wonder. They faced wolves in their wildernesses: The wolves of today are drugs and pornography. Their generation built a nation of freedom with faith in God. Our generation wants to rid America of God and restore the slavery they fled.
My life has been intertwined with the lives of many strong women, each unique in her own way: a great-grandmother, two grandmothers, my mother, my wife, six daughters, three daughters-in-law, 16 granddaughters, two step granddaughters-in-law and eleven great-granddaughters. And I cannot forget those ancestral grandmothers that date back to the early 1600s.
There is something special about these women, as there is about all women. They share something special with each other - they are all daughters of a loving Heavenly Father who sent them into mortality to perform a noble work - to become mothers to birth and nurture one or more of His spirit children.
These women, have each blessed my life. My mother nurtured me. My grandmothers trained and helped my mother. My wife loved me, and together we created our own family, watching it grow exponentially. My daughters help me to see the hand of God at work in them, watching that innate female computer chip implanted in each of them (nature's law) move them from childhood to adolescence to motherhood and grandmother-hood. It is a wonderful plan to watch.
It is a plan that provides purpose, gives meaning to life and brings joy to one's soul - an everlasting joy that only a mother or father can fully appreciate.
Mothers have been endowed by God with a built-in nature that allows them to go into the valley of the shadow of death to bring another spirit into mortality, then to love and nurture them and prepare them to become a responsible adult and to perpetuate nature's cycle of life - His great plan.
Yes, Sunday is a special day for all females - mothers and potential mothers. Cherish that special one that gave you life and remember the words "I love you" will endear you to her even more.
Donald Conkey, a retired agricultural economist, lives in Woodstock.