Sharing Mana‘o

God could not be everywhere, and therefore he created mothers.

Widely attributed to Rudyard Kipling, the quote above also appears in collections of Jewish proverbs. I haven’t been able to confirm which is the original source, but I do like the saying.

Typically at this time of year, I use this column to pay tribute to my mother or to muse over memories of mothering my own little boy. But as we’re all too aware, this Sunday will not be a typical Mother’s Day.

The second Sunday in May is traditionally the busiest restaurant day of the year. Obviously, with social distancing and quarantine measures in place, no one will be dining out for brunch or dinner this year. Fortunately, numerous takeout and delivery services are available; The Maui News publishes a “Dining To Go” guide in its Weekender issue and the list includes options for every budget, from fast food to fine dining.

The coronavirus won’t keep you from buying flowers for Mom either. Last week, after Mayor Michael Victorino wrote to Gov. David Ige, pointing out that Maui County emergency rules already allow floral deliveries, the governor revised an earlier statewide order. Now, florists statewide are allowed to open for business, as long as social distancing safeguards are followed. Most supermarkets and grocery stores also offer cut flowers as they always have.

For elderly moms confined to nursing homes or otherwise isolated, virtual visits are the next best thing. My 94-year-old mother has long resisted social media, but thanks to the “new normal” imposed by stay-at-home rules, she’s starting to warm up to the idea. After participating in an Easter Sunday Zoom session with Pookela Church, she agreed to try a video chat with one of her great-granddaughters. It worked so well, we’re going to try weekly videoconferencing with my son, his wife, and all three of my granddaughters.

This Mother’s Day, Mom and I will likely follow our new Sunday routine. We’ll pick up lunch to go from one of our favorite local restaurants and park in a shady spot somewhere. Last week, we ate sandwiches in my car at the Hookipa lookout, then ventured to the old Maui High, where Mom regaled me with reminiscences of her high school years. I look forward to hearing more of her stories this Sunday, especially about her mother, whom I never got to meet. Then, we’ll try a group chat with our Michigan ‘ohana. Hopefully, it won’t be like the old days, when long distance landlines would get overwhelmed on Mother’s Day and only the most persistent (like my son) would finally get through.

Whether or not Kipling originated the “God couldn’t be everywhere” quote, there’s no question that he wrote the following poem. I’ve always thought of “If” as advice which could have come from a loving mother. I think it’s appropriate for Mother’s Day and for these atypical times as well.

If you can keep your head when all about you

Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

But make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,

Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,

Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating,

And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream — and not make dreams your master;

If you can think — and not make thoughts your aim;

If you can meet with triumph and disaster

And treat those two impostors just the same;

If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken

Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,

And stoop and build ’em up with wornout tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings

And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,

And lose, and start again at your beginnings

And never breathe a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew

To serve your turn long after they are gone,

And so hold on when there is nothing in you

Except the Will which says to them, “Hold on,”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,

Or walk with kings — nor lose the common touch;

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;

If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute

With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run —

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,

And — which is more — you’ll be a Man, my son!

* Kathy Collins is a radio personality (The Buzz 107.5 FM), storyteller, actress, emcee and freelance writer whose “Sharing Mana’o” column appears every other Wednesday. Her email address is kcmaui913@gmail.com.


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