Greg Peters column: Can't find the right greeting card
I know Mother's Day is still a week away, but I've mailed cards late in the past, so maybe this will help even it out. I remember mailing a Mother's Day card to you when I was in college. I wished you "Happy Grandmother's Day" as a joke, like I had an unplanned baby on the way. I remember you thinking it was not very funny.
The next year I sent a present and no card at all. Another swing and a miss for me.
The greeting card people can't seem to pinpoint a quality son-to-mom Mother's Day card. They give two choices, either too sappy or too funny. If I choose the "too sappy" version, it likely receives an eye roll from you and a "Jenna must've picked this one out" comment.
If it's a "too funny" Mother's Day card, it receives the proverbial "You can't stop joking around even for your own mother on Mother's Day? I gave birth to you and changed your diapers. I can't even get one serious card from you on Mother's Day?"
I'm like Goldilocks trying to choose greeting cards instead of porridge in a card aisle full of 300 bears.
This greeting card is too hot. This one is too cold. Instead of sending a card this year, I want to write you a letter. Hopefully, this one will be juuust right.
You may not know this, but politically speaking, I'd say I'm a fastball right down the middle. I think it comes from studying journalism and reporting the news for a number of years. It was beaten into my brain from Professor Mark Mills to remain impartial and always question either side. Like Notre Dame's football tradition of slapping the "Play Like a Champion Today" sign as they run onto the field, Professor Mills hammered his unbiased mantra home on a daily basis to his budding journalists. To this day, I read or watch the political news like an umpire calling balls and strikes. It's comical these days how different national media outlets can report the same story with such preconceived discrepancy. Professor Mills would hold these people on par with umpires taking money to fix a game.
The more perceived political competition there is, the more "us" and "them," the more passionate people become. Passionate people are more likely to watch, read, vote and open their checkbooks to support campaigns. I've seen guys that won't tip more than 10% on a $7 lunch bill donate $1,000 to a campaign in hopes of thwarting a $500 per household state tax increase.
Passion without logic is like buying a Mother's Day greeting card in October.
Many Democrats are pro-choice, yet the label seemingly doesn't apply to gun control and unions.
Many Republicans typically want less government intervention in our daily lives, yet the party wants to tell us who we can marry. Many Republicans have a pro-life stance on abortion, but it must mean pro-birth because many also support the death penalty.
Logic without passion can cause immeasurable disruption.
Mom, I'm guessing you're wondering at this point how all this is a "Happy Mother's Day" letter? Your letter is about logic and passion and I'm so very grateful you have both.
Unlike what your parents may have thought at the time, I think the shotgun wedding was one hell of an idea. It's OK to joke about it now, but back then, I can only imagine how scared you were. You could've taken the easy way out, but you didn't. You were thousands of miles from the home you knew, still in college, and barely had enough money to buy a gallon of milk. Logic could've made the easy choice and say it was a mistake, but your passion told you I wasn't.
Neither were your other two sons that followed or the eight grandchildren and great-grandchildren to come.
Speaking of shotguns, I didn't call "shotgun" soon enough one night while riding in a car with two other friends. I was in the back seat by myself. Our car was coming upon a four-way intersection and we had a green light. The driver and the passenger were talking and laughing. Like a wide open teammate making a backdoor cut to the basket, I noticed a car coming way too fast to our right through the breadth in the buildings. I yelled, "Stop!"
Our driver slammed on the breaks and the other car ran their red light right in front us easily going 90 mph. If I'm not in the backseat that night, I don't think those guys would be here today, along with their kids and grandkids.
In a real-life "It's A Wonderful Life" way, there will be an infinite number of people and places positively affected stemming from one decision you made. I thank you for having the courage and passion to make your logical choice. I thank you for choosing to be my mom. You've earned the right to tell everyone at my retirement party how many times you've changed my diapers. If we both live long enough, I will return the favor. There's a greeting card punchline somewhere in there.
Happy Mother's Day.