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May 13, 2012


OPEN THREAD: For What Character Traits or Actions of your Mother Are You Thankful?

I always enjoy these Mother’s Day threads, both hearing from others and thinking through the things I’ve noticed about my own Mother over the past year. So I’m looking forward to your own lists.

As for my own list:

—I’m a single person and over the last year have become more conscious of Mother’s excellence as an “administrator.” Her skills in running the household and everybody’s lives [er, that latter may not have come out right but you know what I mean] meant that my Dad was released to go work hard like a mule every day!  Again, maybe that doesn’t sound quite right, but let me explain.

I have a growing consulting business and focus fairly intensely on my clients and their business growth. Just this week, I staggered into the house after a full day elsewhere in South Carolina, some time around midnight. Once I got home, there was a mass of duties to attend to. I got to bed around 2ish. Mother didn’t work outside of the home other than a couple of early years. But boy did she work. The house and all surrounding entities ran like a clock. Meals, laundry, scads of errands, many of them complex, yard work, household repairs, car repairs, bill paying, vendor management, cleaning, and not to mention raising and home schooling four children—all were accomplished with a smoothness that I marvel at.  That’s not to say that she didn’t go crazy at times.

But my Mother “put her shoulder into it” and still does. As a result, my Dad essentially has to deal with practically nothing at all in regards to managing a household and material goods—something that I’m a bit envious of, I have to admit.

I really appreciate, the older I get, the partnership that she and Dad have—and I largely give credit to Mother for that.

—All of the above being said, my Mother has always been a hard worker. It was a fantastic example for all of us as we grew up. The very least you can do is work hard.

—Mother has never stopped reading or learning. She reads more than I do, and has many different books by her bedside, on the kitchen table, and elsewhere throughout the house, lying ready and handy. Every year as I was growing up, she would take us to the store for our school things—big fat brightly colored pencils when we were younger, notebooks, lunch boxes, erasers, and so on. It was a big deal, and was a part of the long and very good tradition of establishing many rituals that gave value to learning. Mother was always very excited for us about the great privilege we had in learning. I hope I keep that for the rest of my life.

—I was talking to Mother earlier in the week about my Grandmother, and commented that the three things that gave me a love for and skill at language were: my parents reading incessantly to us all [they still do, when we visit or when we call—always something they want to read to us whether we want to hear it or not!], my Grandmother extensively training me in the fine art of diagramming complex, lengthy sentences [it was a game or a puzzle for us], and my Mother teaching me four years of Latin. Those things . . . they were invaluable to my ability to “handle” the English language.

Happy Mother’s Day, everyone!


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7 comments

My Mother had great courage, was tough as nails, and was always a lady.  May her memory be eternal.    Statmann

[1] Posted by Statmann on 5-13-2012 at 11:43 AM · [top]

I realized a few years ago (and told her before she departed this life) that most, if not all my best traits are due to her modelling them in her life.

[2] Posted by A Senior Priest on 5-13-2012 at 12:05 PM · [top]

My Mom raised 5 kids on a shoestring but we always had food on the table.  Dad always planted a garden and I can still hear Mom telling me to go pick her a mess of (corn, peas, okra or whatever was in season).  She wasted nothing and taught us to be frugal also.  Although as a child, this was not a skillset I desired, it is one I learned to appreciate.

We kids saw Mom sacrifice for us daily.  I can’t remember her buying anything for herself until we kids were grown.  She always took the least in order that we could have the best.  My favorite example is as kids Mom told us that her favorite piece of chicken was the back.  It wasn’t until I was grown I realized that was Mom’s way of making it okay for us hungry kids to grab the best pieces.

Mom and Dad taught us that there was real value in honest and integrity.  They taught us that hard work was good for the soul and that doing for others should be something we did as second nature.  They required us kids to maintain the highest standard we could in school and the behavior grade better be an A.  Manners were mandatory and not up for discussion.

There is so much i would do different if I could.  I did get to sit with Mom in her last hours and told her all these things and more.  I do not know that she was able to hear me but pray if she could that she only heard the thanksgiving for all the good and honorable things she did in this life.

If you have your parents still with you, I recommend you take the time to get some good pictures of them in their everyday lives.  A recording of their voice will also be a treature in years to come.  But most of all, cherish them as the gifts from God that they are.

[3] Posted by Jackie on 5-13-2012 at 12:27 PM · [top]

A dining room table from the home in which I grew up has accompanied me over the decades.  It has many years of beverage rings, hot plate burns, nicks and assorted other “defects,” but I just cant bring myself to have it refinished.

My mother used to sit with me at that table and read to me from a children’s Bible.  I learned the basics of Holy Scripture - that is, salvation history through Jesus Christ - at that table.  By God’s grace, the years keep deepening my insight into what I began to learn there, even through many failures and defects.

So it is hard to think about touching it up… it’s something of an icon as is.  Thanks, Mom, for sitting there with me and sharing the Good News. 

PS, Mom & Dad: I have continued to warn children to not rest their elbows on the wings of the table when they are extended!!!

[4] Posted by Timothy Fountain on 5-13-2012 at 12:54 PM · [top]

Patience.

[5] Posted by Undergroundpewster on 5-13-2012 at 01:44 PM · [top]

Her belief in me, challenging me to be my best, and her generosity towards me and my friends, and how she said yes to the very demanding challenge of welcoming my foster brother into our family when he was 11 years old and had suffered great tragedy in his birth family.

[6] Posted by Karen B. on 5-13-2012 at 01:58 PM · [top]

My mom was born and lived her early life in New York City.  She was a small woman but a tougher human being has never walked the Earth.  In the 1930’s, in a time when genteel anti-Semitism was probably the rule rather than the exception, her cause was the Jews.  I don’t know which of my siblings ended up getting a volume of Keats and Shelley that a Jewish friend gave her but I’ll never forget the loving inscription he put in it.

Mom’s first husband was killed during the Second World War.  In the mid-to-late 1940’s, my mom, with a daughter to raise, apparently wanted out from under her folks so she left New York City and took a job in Billings, Montana where she met my father and eventually spawned the likes of me.(that’ll larn ya grin )

Funny thing about Mom.  She was born in New York City.  She even saw a baseball game in Ebbets Field in Brooklyn one time when a date took her there one time(she hated the place; thought it was a dump) and her first daughter was born in Brooklyn.  But once she got out to Montana, you couldn’t have gotten her to move back to New York if you’d put a gun to her head.

Neither my mom nor my dad wanted to move to Missouri.  But the Montana winter of late ‘54-early’55 must have been a rough one if you know what I mean and I think you do since I ended up coming into the world.  I have to think that it affected my relationship with my old man.  But mom understood me better than any ever had before or since. 

Damn it, Sarah.  Now I’m going to have to shut things down for a while.

wink

[7] Posted by Christopher Johnson on 5-13-2012 at 04:50 PM · [top]

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