Garys May coin of the month features a 2008 Latvian 20-Lats gold coin commemorating the 15th anniversary of the renewal of the Lats currency following Latvian independence from the old Soviet Union.
Though this coin commemorates Latvian Independence, it also celebrates motherhood by utilizing a 1922 design conceived by sculptor Teodors Zalkalns, but never used. Additionally, this coin has the distinction of being named the Coin of the Year in 2010 by Krause Publications. Krause Publications is a leading publisher of several numismatic books and periodicals.This months column is a tribute to mothers and motherhood. The first segment focuses on the motherhood aspect of this coin, and describes the coins design using copied narratives from other sources. The second will tell of my mother and my wife and is a grateful acknowledgment of them and their self-sacrifice for the sake of their children.This NGC MS-67, 2008 Latvian 20-Lats coin minted by the Austrian Mint has a mintage of only 5000. The diameter of the coin is 22mm and weighs 10 grams. This coin has a gold fineness 0.999 and has an actual gold weight of 0.352739 Oz.The gold Coin of Latvia shines with the promise of a good fortune and happiness in the future. It is also a special sign of recognition of an outstanding Latvian sculptor, since it carries out the project conceived by Teodors Zalkalns (Grinbergs until 1930; 1876--1972) in 1922 to create a 20-lats gold coin. The plaster model of the coin preserved in the archives of the Latvian National Museum of History contains symbols that are of great significance to Latvia. Zalkalns images of mother belong to the classical treasures of Latvian sculpture. The sculptures created during World War I and modeled after a refugee from Courland are a potent symbol of the nations suffering and transcending that suffering. The obverse of the coin also features a woman in a headscarf, which to any Latvian signifies motherhood: when a baby was born, the husband presented the wife with a headscarf. A woman used it to cover her head whenever she ventured out in the world. Folk tradition has it that a person who is lost can find the right way if she turns the headscarf inside out and ties it anew; that a knot in one of the loose ends can help one remember, and if such a knot is tied when a star is falling, ones wish will come true. All these good things are tied to the mother image. Mother is the symbol of never-ending cycle of life, linking the past, present and future generations.The feminine principle gives life to an individual and likewise is at the core of the family and state. The feminine principle unites the spiritual with the material; the symbols on the reverse of the coin, bread, apple, vessel with a curdled milk beverage and a jug of milk also signify fertility and plenitude. A knife, symbolizing masculine action, is placed next to the feminine images.Part II:The instances my mom exhibited love and self-sacrifice to my sisters and I are too numerous to tell. However, two examples stand out prominently in my heart.When I was young lad of about six or seven, I was diagnosed with flat feet. To remedy this situation, I was fitted with special shoes that at the time cost my parents $50. Today to pay $50 for a pair of shoes is a bargain, but in the mid 1960s that was a considerable amount of money for my parents to pay.From my perspective, I hated those shoes, which I had to wear all day long and only came in one style. When I was younger, I never appreciated what my parents had done for me. Since then I have discovered there are things your parents do for you that you dont appreciate until you walk a mile in their shoes. Today, still flat footed, I wish I had those shoes as mementos of my parents love and self-sacrifice.While my siblings and I were young, my mom chose to stay at home and take care of us rather than pursue a career. Then, after we were all older, my mom went to work and eventually earned a degree. As a son, I could not be any prouder of her. They say you cant have your cake and eat it too, but my mom proved otherwise. Today my mom is enjoying retirement as a china painter who is so skilled in her craft, that she holds classes to teach others the art of china painting. As an adult child, I still value her opinions and perspectives on life.My wife proves that you dont have to be super-mom to be a good mom. Though my wife could never fill the role of a soccer mom, she gave our two children all the love she had. Now that both my children are adults they understand this, and they love and appreciate her for it.Because of health issues, the pregnancies of both my children were hard on my wife, and in particular, her pregnancy with my son. There were several times we rushed to the emergency room thinking my wife had miscarried thankfully to find it was a false alarm. Nevertheless, these incidences led to mandatory bed rest, no lifting, no climbing stairs, nothing but bed rest.Thankfully, we received support from the people of my church with meals and things of that nature. Moreover, our pastor met us for prayer each time in the emergency room. However, regardless of the support we had, my sons life depended on my wifes obedience to her doctors instructions. Displaying the very essence of motherhood, she faithfully followed them all and my son was born a full term, strapping young boy!I am a blessed man to have had the mother and wife I have. I learned the character traits of love and self-sacrifice from my mother and now my wife and I have tried to pass them on to our children. I can tell you that we are all the better for it. One thing I have discovered common to all good mothers is that the needs of their children always come before their own. This then is the essence of motherhood. Happy Mothers Day!GaryTo see old comments for this Journal entry, click here. New comments can be added below.