Friday, May 7, 2010

A Tribute to Mom

My mother is a poem
I'll never be able to write,
though everything I write
is a poem to my mother.
~Sharon Doubiago


It’s Mother’s Day! Happy Mother’s Day to all of the moms out there reading this. As one who wished for many years to become a mother, let me say I know this day isn’t always a happy one for my female friends. Let me also say, whether or not you are a mother, have a living, do or don’t know your mother, mother’s day can be an emotional day.

While I could muse about being a mother or becoming a mother, I’d like to use this platform to honor my mother. (Sorry, Mom, this is it this year – no diamond necklace or flowers!)

A Tribute to MOM

That best academy, a mother's knee. ~James Russell Lowell
One good mother is worth a hundred schoolmasters. ~George Herbert


My mom cannot separate herself from her role as mother and her role as teacher. This has always been true and continues to be true in her newer role as grandmother. She’s always teaching. She’s most in her element when she can read a story, give a story or activity book, play BINGO or YAHTZEE, or ask questions on a myriad of topics. Living with a mom for whom buying toys usually meant something “educational” quite likely brought me to my career as a teacher. That and our long homework sessions when she helped me memorize the multiplication tables in grade school and later the 50 inventors, their inventions, countries of origins, and years in 9th grade. And who could forget how we learned what rodents and insects were thinking when mom would begin talking for them and carrying on full conversations!

The heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which you will always find forgiveness. ~Honoré de Balzac

My mom has the patience and forgiveness of a Saint. I’ve never known her to hold a grudge or to grumble about someone “not getting it.” I wish I could say both of these qualities have found their way down the bloodline, but I fear my capacity for forgiveness is greater than my patience.

The mother's heart is the child's school-room. ~Henry Ward Beecher

My mom has a heart of such capacity that she managed to mother not only her two children successfully, but hundreds (maybe thousands) of others, too. Confirmation kids, grade school children, youngsters with special needs, and English language learners. Through her love and care we’ve all grown to reach our full potential.

One of the very few reasons I had any respect for my mother when I was thirteen was because she would reach into the sink with her bare hands - bare hands - and pick up that lethal gunk and drop it into the garbage. To top that, I saw her reach into the wet garbage bag and fish around in there looking for a lost teaspoon. Bare hands - a kind of mad courage. ~Robert Fulghum

I can beat that. My mom could stick her hand into a drawer in the bureau at our cabin and pick up with her bare hands the mouse nests there (or in the outhouse!) Once she even actually picked up baby mice! (Okay, that time it wasn’t so impressive as she screamed so long and loud that Dad thought she must be having a heart attack.) But she did it. She also could scrub bat guano off the floor or furniture. Set a mousetrap or empty a mousetrap without flinching. She could cook eggs in a cast iron skillet on a cookstove without burning it. Those same hands could cook Sunday dinner (Preacher’s casserole or chicken and rice or potroast or goulash) or Christmas supper (Norwegian meatballs, riced potatoes, apple pie, and lefsa) or something for a Sunday potluck (green Jello with celery or a pie) or make homemade jelly, homemade soap, homemade candles, or handmade clothes. Those very same hands could pour alcohol on an open wound (yes! It really hurts like heck) and then squeeze you tight.


For all you do and all you are, THANK YOU, Mom! I love you no matter how near or far we are.

1 comment:

  1. Loved this :) I always feel infinitely less capable than my mom was when I was growing up...but I know one thing I do as well as she did is love my kiddo unconditionally, as you do yours :) Great post!

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