Celebrating Mothers

November 5, 2009 at 2:17 am Leave a comment

It’s a long way to Mother’s Day and months since the last one, but I think it’s fair to give our mothers their due.  I’m not sure I appreciated mine fully until I was older and had children of my own.  Maybe it was that I couldn’t see then all the things she did for me, or her sacrifices so we could have what we needed. There were certainly many times I didn’t agree with her, or times I’d like to do things besides chores, times I wanted to spend more time with friends after school when there were jobs to be done at home, days that I’d rather stay in bed or sleep in, and days when my sister and I quarrelled over chores we had to do.

Sure, I said thank you for birthday gifts, small but thoughtfully chosen, and for the birthday cake. Mom always asked what kind we wanted for our birthday, and I always said Angel food cake. I loved it for the fluffy lightness; it was always good because she baked it fresh for that day.  I learned that when she was growing up in their large family, the children’s birthdays were just another day of the week; they were not celebrated, so she did that for us, as we do for her.

As I opened gifts on Christmas morning. I must surely have said thank you when I got a new toy that I loved, the bride doll that I don’t remember asking for, or when I got my first watch (at 12 years of age).  If I didn’t say thank you right away, Mom might have seen it in my eyes how much I liked that doll or watch, or the neat  pen with many coloured small pens that stacked up end on end. Years later, when I was past sixteen, I was most surprised at Christmas one year when the big box was for me— a brand new cedar chest still in its box from the storage room at the furniture store.  “For me?” I asked.

It wasn’t just for the stuff she or Dad bought for me that I’m thankful, but the time she put into getting our clothes ready for school each day when we were in early grades, and for the  Sunday shoes she shined for us each Saturday and the dresses she ironed and starched so we’d look good and feel special.  There were the lunches she packed for school each day, even though she knew how much I disliked sandwiches (and still do).

Mom had plenty to do each day, living on a farm and being a farmer’s wife. She made sure we were fed and clothed, that we got to bed on time (even if we stayed awake talking or giggling). She helped Dad with the chores, gathered eggs in the hen house. She got up early to have breakfast on the table on a school day, so we could just sit down and eat, then be ready to catch the bus that always came way too early. In summer she had a garden too, and did much canning and freezing so that we would have plenty of good food to eat all winter and until our garden started producing more the next summer. The work was never done.

She regrets not  being able to take us places and do  more things with us that were fun. Life was so busy she must have had to catch her breath sometimes, for few  important things were left undone. Mom taught us to do chores as we were ready, showed us what it was to be frugal, that some purchases must wait until the egg prices went up again, since they were still paying off a farm.

Lyla holding baby Carolyn

Mom and I

Busy as she was, and in spite of disagreements, we knew we were loved. My parents, neither of whom went on to high school, saw that we had an education— not just high school but college too, if we wanted to go. I’m sure there were times when she needed a new dress, but she didn’t get one because we needed school clothes, new shoes or winter coats, even when many of those were hand-me-downs. I saw her furrowed brow at times, even if she didn’t tell us what was troubling her, heard disagreements when she must have thought we were sleeping. I’ve learned over time that it’s healthier to air grievances instead of letting them simmer and boil over.

Today Mom has more time to visit with friends, gets a new dress when she wants or needs one, takes the time to read a good book, and she’s always happy to see us when we come for a visit.

Thanks Mom, for so many things. I know we have had our difference of opinions, that we view some issues quite differently, but through it all, thank you for all you did for us, for your sacrifices and work on our behalf.  Thank you for your love.

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Entry filed under: family, relationships. Tags: .

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