My mother is an amazing woman. There aren’t adequate words to describe her… she came from humble beginnings where she received very little parenting. She was blessed with her brother Don, who taught her to swim and ride a bike (also how to swipe cigarettes from their boarder and smoke them under the porch at AGE EIGHT!) Her parents owned a bakery which kept them away from home for sixteen or more hours a day. She took college classes all my childhood, always studying something she was interested in from genetics to math to botany. In fact, she was a docent at the nature center near my hometown for many years – which brings me to a funny story. Mom’s many grandchildren gave her the opportunity to share her knowledge about owl pellets, fern fronds and other things. All the kids have responded to her vast knowledge with at least feigned interest over the years. Until one of the grandkids (who shall remain nameless but isn’t MY child ;)) told Mom, as she was seriously taking an owl pellet apart and explaining the process whereby it came to have little mouse bones inside it, “Grammy, I’m sorry but I just don’t care about all that nature stuff.” Which only made Mom laugh and allow that grandchild her preferences.
Back in the 60’s she and my father were very progressive in their attitudes and practices about race relations, which definitely formed all of us. We always had international students living with us and inner city students spending time with us on weekends (even though we lived in a snow-white little town in Wisconsin). She led the Girl Scout troop, the PTA, entertained my father’s employees and taught my sister and me how to sew. Most of us love animals because of my mother (and father) …we had dogs and cats and saw them have their litters. One of our dogs was with us in northern Wisconsin and the dog severed an artery in its paw somehow. Mom compressed that paw to stop the bleeding and held it for the 35 miles to the veterinarian so the dog would not bleed out! Her hand was totally cramped after that!
Her sense of humor is a prize. I remember one family birthday when the seven of us sat around the table and Mom kept asking “who wants ice cream with their cake?” My Dad kept saying, “I just want cake.” When she finally served him, there was ice cream with the cake!! He teased her and said, “Sheesh! I only wanted cake!” Being the quick thinker she is, she reached out with her bare hand and grabbed his scoop of ice cream like a baseball and tossed it in the sink! We were all laughing hard, especially my Dad!
Our house was always clean, she was always there when we came home from school. She always stood up for us – without overdoing it. She taught us to be thoughtful and think of what life was like for others. She supported all our dreams and helped us form new ones, even the ones she would have liked to chase after herself. She delighted in our successes and encouraged us when we failed. I don’t think anyone could have believed in us more than Mom (and Dad). She was and is a devoted mother who taught all five of us to work hard, try again, not get discouraged, have a positive outlook and be devoted to our families.
Sheesh. What an act to follow!
We all love her to pieces and are so grateful for who she is in our lives!