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Happy Mothers Day

As an airline pilot specific holidays are so interesting to me.  Nothing in particular makes most of these days special except that someone said, the second Sunday in May we will celebrate mothers.  Some holidays like Easter are steeped in tradition as it coincides with Passover and the full moon with the spring equinox but Mothers Day is a baby holiday at only 150 years old.  It was started to allow mothers to celebrate with their sons that had been divided by the Civil War.  How appropriate since it can be a holiday that doubles for a field of landmines for everyone involved.

But why does my life have to be altered so dramatically by these arbitrary holidays and our success as a human hinge on our actions on these days?  It’s amazing what social significance we put on being present for a truly arbitrary celebration.  You could call your mother every day but if you slip on Mother’s Day, you are potentially in the dog house. (landmine #1)

So much of my airline schedule is out of my control that trying to have Christmas on December 25th is a crazy concept.   All other 15,000 pilots at American want it off too but someone has to work Christmas, Thanksgiving, Mother’s day, etc.

Speaking of getting Christmas off…..a couple years ago I bid for Christmas off.  It is funny, in life, the crazy processes that we have to endure and subsequently remember for the insanity of them.  At Cal Poly, to get my college classes, I had to phone in… was like phoning in to win the tickets on a radio show.  I would call and call and call…..busy signal (remember those), busy signal, busy signal for an hour….then finally it would ring and I could register for classes…Yeah I won!!!…..I remember thinking, there has got to be a better way.  Same at the airline.  Every month the company used to put lines together for us…these were the days of “what route do you fly?” because the entire month you would go to the same somewhere all month…..New York, Miami, etc……so if there were 100 pilots, there would be 70 of these “lines” that went one place all month and 30 reserve pilots.  It was so easy to bid.  Now they have outsourced it to computers.  They have each individual trip in a pot and this software program optimizes all these trips for everyone bidding.  It is complicated software and I learned that the hard way during the Christmas of 2019.  I only asked the computer for 2 things.  Christmas Eve and Christmas Day off.  When I got my bid, I was working both those days and 12 Captains junior to me had it off.  How could I screw up something so simple?  I knew then that it didn’t matter how senior you were to get holidays off, it mattered if you understood the computer program.  That was also when I hired someone to deal with that software and I have not worked Christmas again.  But those years when I couldn’t get Christmas off, our family just had the holiday on another day.  In the airline biz, that is true with most holidays and you get used to it.

All of these “days” put so much pressure on us to perform and if we fail, there are consequences.  Did you make it to one mothers dinner but not the other? (landmine #2)  Did you send flowers? (landmine #3) Is mom already in bed and is it too late to call? (landmine#4)

I lost my mom last year so this will be my first Mothers Day without her.  To my parents credit they always had grace for me if my airline schedule prevented my presence at any given holiday and were good with the phone call; even an after hours voicemail.  I still keep my moms cell number on my “favorites”.  Not sure when I will be able to delete it…..I even have a voicemail from my mom and dad that I can’t delete quite yet (they took every phone call together).   I am so glad we have this holiday to remember moms and this one will, for sure, be bitter sweet.

This year I am fortunate to be with my girls on Mother’s day and I have no expectations so I can’t be disappointed.   It will be like any other Sunday for me but it will be perfect!.  Probably filled with many home made cards and a lot of love.  But I don’t need the world or my kids to tell me on this particular day that I am a good mom.  In my heart, I know I am because I am ALWAYS trying to love; my kids, my family, myself and my crazy journey through this life.

To you moms; enjoy your day and give unmerited grace if the world is pulling your loved ones in too many directions.

  • Expect nothing and be humbled by the honor God gave you of being a mom.

  • Relish in that gift so whatever praise you may or may not receive will not make or break this “day”.

  • Choose for it to be perfect, wonderful and filled with love that comes from you.  We cannot control anything except our response to any given situation….. so choose, as a wise mom, to set the tone this day for those around you.

As Jesus said in Matthew, “Well done my good and faithful servant.”  Moms were given the most complicated and difficult job.  Moms love, give and serve with all their heart.  Well done indeed!

Happy Mothers Day

1 Comment

Edith Hamilton
Edith Hamilton
May 05

Exactly! It’s important to remind ourselves (and our loved ones) that Thanksgiving need not be celebrated on “that” specific day to be meaningful, because otherwis we make ourselves miserable in the process whenever we can’t be with our loved ones. And that breeds a victim mentality.

Instead, the day after can be an equally joyful Thanksgiving, or Christmas, or Valentine’s Day. Taking the pressure off ourselves and others about “THE day” is such a valuable gift to the world. And it begins with questioning some basic assumptions as you do so well.

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