Saturday, May 10, 2008

All the mothers in my life

This is a submission to my Mother's Day mom story challenge. It's from my mom, who came through with the first submission. Thanks for writing. You can also read this, and several other mom stories at The Mercury's Mother's Day 2008 blog page. You have to scroll pretty far down the page to read the stories, but they're there and they're worth a read.

I have known lots of mothers over the years. Some are good mothers, some are bad mothers, some are spectacular mothers. I wish I could say that my own mother was spectacular, but she just fits into the “good” category. I can’t say that there was anything that stands out in my mind that she did special while I was growing up. She was not overly affectionate, but back in those days, the way children were raised was so completely different from the way they are raised now.

I know everyone who has e-mail has seen the “jokes” about the “Old Days,” and probably think of them as very silly and not based on reality, but it’s all true. Yes, I did go out and play every day. When it was time for dinner, my dad, when he was home, would stand at the door and whistle his special whistle for me to come home. And no, I did not feel like he was calling a dog! That was my special whistle and I couldn’t wait to hear it. It meant dinner time. That was special because then we all sat around the table and ate and talked. I would make it a point of at least once, running my fork over my teeth to drive my sister crazy. She hated that, so of course I had to do it.

One of the things I insisted on after I got married and had children was dinner at the table. No television, no radio. Sound boring? Ask my kids. That is something that they still talk about now. We ate in the kitchen around a small table. Five of us all crammed around that table. But it was fun and we had some “interesting” conversations. As the kids got older, and the girls had boyfriends, I would tell them to bring their boyfriends over for Sunday dinner. They were a little afraid since there was no guarantee that the conversation would be appropriate for company. The boyfriends had to get to know us before a family dinner and sometimes they were still “embarrassed” by what we spoke about. But it was fun. I think the girls try to enforce that in their own homes and my son, David, swears he will when he finally settles down.

Eventually as we grow older, we turn into our mothers. I know I do things today that my mother did back then and when I catch myself doing them, I want to smack myself upside the head and say “What are you doing??, this is exactly what she would do!” I can’t say I have any lovey dovey feelings for her because I don’t remember too many special things that we did while I was growing up.

I guess I could say the one special thing was baking cookies at Christmas, but even that was strange. She would get annoyed if I did something different from how she did it so again, it wasn’t anything really special. I looked forward more to eating the cookies than baking them. Of course, when I got married and moved into our house, I got elected to bake the cookies every year. She was getting older then and she just didn’t feel like doing it any more. So now I bake cookies every year using my mother’s hand written recipe that is held together with tape. I soon plan on giving it to my girls to let them do their own cookies. I almost did it last year, but with my daughter, Diane, just having her new little one, Ryan, and Sophia just over a year old, I thought I would give her a break. Carol and Diane, be prepared this year! Cookie recipes coming your way!

Other mothers I have known over the years have been neighbors of my parents on the street where I grew up and my sister, who left us too soon and really didn’t have a chance to see her own daughter, my niece, grow up to be the beautiful independent woman that she has become.

Also on my list of mothers I have known are my own friends and neighbors. I have always found it amazing how differently we all raised our children. We all have our own sets of rules, regulations and family values that we base our lives on. But in the long run, our children have pretty much turned out the same. Most have their own lives to live away from their parents, and some are still struggling to figure out what they want to do.

Being a mother is a never ending journey, even when your kids are grown with their own families.

Diane, you have made this Mothers Day special and I thank you for it. I always said that you had a knack for writing, and your blog this week has proven me right (again!!). Keep up great work.

Love Mom