The friend I call Mema#8217; By Amanda VanDerBroek 05/09/2008 There is a woman in upstate New York that is probably in a state of complete shock. That woman is my momwho actually got both her birthday

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 9, 2008

There is a woman in upstate New York that is probably in a state of complete shock.

That woman is my mom—who actually got both her birthday gift and Mother’s Day gift on time this year.

Right now I can see her marking it on her calendar: “Received both B-day and M-day presents on time, will play the lottery tonight.”

It’s something I’ve been trying to achieve…being on time with gifts and happy wishes and all the other things

that go along with being a good daughter, family member and friend.

If you’ve read my columns before, then you know I’m notoriously bad about this. Seriously, when it comes down to it I can be worse than a man.

Just the other day in a phone conversation with my mom she was dropping a “hint.”

“Do you know Mother’s Day has only been around for 100 years?” she asked.

“No, really…wait I think I read something about that the other day,” I replied.

“Yep, this Sunday, Mother’s Day will have been around for 100 years,” she reiterated.

“I think it was started by a feminist,” I said.

“Well, I’m glad she started it,” she stated.

Unbeknownst to my mom, her gift was on its way.

After our conversation, it got me “Googling” away, to see just where exactly I had obtained that piece of information, which ended up being on MSN news.

The name of the feminist in article I had skimmed was Julia Ward Howe, who in 1870 wrote the Mother’s Day Proclamation, which called for peace and the disarm of weapons.

However, it was Anna Jarvis, influenced by Howe, who pushed for a memorial day for women and ultimately the Mother’s Day that we all know. The very first Mother’s Day was officially celebrated in Grafton, West Virginia on May 10, 1908.

Obviously, Howe’s original intention of a “Mother’s Day” was lost along the way, which was probably in most moms’ favor. After all, Mother’s Day is one of the most commercially successful occasions in the United States.

This means one thing…moms score big time, but then why should they not.

Many think of the mother as the glue in the family; the one who makes sure everyone has their person straight, the one who holds everybody together when there are bad occurrences and the optimist that assures everything will be OK.

My mom wore that hat, along with all the other hats single parents are required to wear.

It sounds clich\u00E9, but when I think of the word mom I immediately think of the word friend, to me they can be used interchangeably.

And to be honest, I’ve never thought of my mother as that…a mother. Given, she’s done her share of motherly advice and worrying, but she has always remained a friend first.

On Primary Election Day, the newsroom was up until the early morning hours typing our stories to be place on the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald web site to get our readers the results.

Leaving Northampton County that night, I checked my voicemail, which had a message from my mom who was wondering exactly where I was.

I called her back while driving back to Ahoskie and explained to her why I was still working.

“Oh, well I wait up until you get home,” she told me.

“No, I don’t want you to lose sleep,” I said.

“OK, but call me when you get home,” she said.

Around 1:30 a.m., I arrived home and called Mema (my nickname for her); despite her sleepy voice I could tell she was relieved I was safe.

There have been other stressful and even troubling times she has been there for me.

Often when I write about my mom that I feel I’ve done her no justice. Sometimes it’s tough for me, even as a writer, to put into words how much she is a part of my life.

Washington Irving, perhaps, put it the best: “A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials, heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine, desert us when troubles thicken around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.”

Amanda VanDerBroek is a Staff Writer for the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald. For comments and column suggestions email: or call (252) 332-7209.