Happy Mother's Day

James Miller is pictured with his mother in a 2015 photo taken at The Cellar in Penticton.

I’m so blessed.

I’m now well into my 50s and my mother is still living. (Additionally, my mother-in-law lived to be 93 and I had a lot of quality time with both of my grandmothers.)

Mom doesn’t live here, she’s many miles away, but she’s still never far from me.

We talk on the phone twice a week — too infrequently for her liking, I’m sure — and text and send emails daily. She reads my stories and columns online. She never missed a summer in the Okanagan since I relocated from Alberta — until last year. (Damn you, COVID!)

As a kid, I was never the best, brightest or most beautiful at anything. She still loved me.

I was an oddball teenager. She still loved me.

Most high school kids couldn’t wait to turn 18 so they could legally drink. I wanted to vote. My mother always took me with her when she voted. If there was a kind poll clerk, I’d be allowed to go behind the curtain with her and would try and tell her which box to mark.

It was my mother who I inheritted my love of music from. She was musical, although enjoyed performing more than listening. I’ve always been the other way around.

My mother always read with me. She encouraged me to write even though what I produced was likely awful. We always had newspapers around the house and I would scan them, first for the comics, eventually graduating to the rest of the paper. She’s still a news junkie.

She encouraged independent play with other kids in the neighbourhood. When the street lights came on, it was time to come home.

She taught me the importance of thank-you notes, something I still write to this day.

If the school called home, you hoped Mom would be the one to answer the phone.

The spirit of volunteerism and giving back to the community, helping those who were less fortunate, was encouraged by both my parents.

Long before they became mainstream, Mom’s favourite causes included literacy, multi-culturism and support for the LGBTQ community. It seemed she was always 10 years ahead of the times.

Now that I’m an adult, she still looks out for me. She worries that I’m not exercising enough, that I spend too much time in the sun, that I might catch the virus.

She loves my wife and is a wonderful mother-in-law, grandmother, aunt and sister.

Whenever there was a hardship or tragedy in our extended family, it was the women who rose to the occasion. It’s not that the men didn’t care, they just couldn’t face adversity as well.

From travelling to Penticton over the years, Mom has built a small network of friends here. It’s easy to plan a visit. She loves The Dream Cafe, the Anglican church and at least one lunch at the Lakeside.

Thank you readers for allowing me to be personal. I realize I’m a boy boasting about his mother. But men, please boast. Moms are worth it. Everyone’s mother is No. 1!

A man, at any age, will never stop loving his mother.

And a mother will always provide unconditional love.

Happy Mothers Day, everybody!

James Miller is a columnist with the Penticton Herald.

Email: james.miller@ok.bc.ca