Happy Mother’s Day
May 8, 2011
Happy Mother’s Day to my beautiful mom (pictured her in her senior year photograph. I have always loved this picture).
- She is really, really pretty. I mean, look at her. And she is still just as pretty — honest, I’m not just saying that! So is my grandmother, in her mid-80s. Let’s hope it runs in the family.
- Also, in addition to being pretty, she is charming, kind, helpful, talented, funny, and a very hard worker.
- She was the mom that all our friends were envious of. “Your mom is so nice/pretty/fun.” Yes, she was and is.
- She grew up on a rural farm in Eastern Oregon; her 8th grade graduating class had 3 (or 4?) kids. She grew up farming, doing 4-H, learning all the practical skills which she (mostly) passed on to me.
- She is an excellent seamstress and quilter. When I was growing up, she made a lot of our clothes. I never got much past a basic dirndl skirt and pajamas, but she could make beautiful clothes, and made a couple of formal dresses for me. Now she mostly makes gorgeous quilts, some of which she hand-quilts. I could never, ever, ever do that. I know how to sew (sort of) but I have no patience for the kind of good work she does.
- She taught me all the handy household tricks that you never really think you need to know until you do. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been grateful to know how to do an actual hemstitch, for instance.
- She taught me the value of homemade cookies. Even when we were in our whole-wheat flour phase, we always had cookies in the house. PS: whole-wheat chocolate chip cookies kind of suck. It was a relief when white flour made an appearance again.
- And perhaps most importantly, I have never ever questioned my mom’s love for me. She has made it clear that she loves me (and my brother) unconditionally, no matter what. This is a pretty awesome gift. I’ve never had to wonder if my mom would ever stop loving me, or love me less because of something I did or some way I am. Consistently, my whole life, the message has been: You are loved. Even if she didn’t like some of my actions or choices, there was never any question of her love and support. For that, I am truly grateful.
When I think about all the hardship my mom went through when we were little, I have so much admiration for her. We had very little money and she worked side by side with my dad to raise our garden; made bread every week; canned the harvest; helped with the butchering of steer, deer and elk so we would have meat to eat; and worked full time as a secretary so we could have health insurance. It was homesteading out of necessity, not trendiness, but it was a good lesson for me and my brother (I’m sure she wishes we hadn’t had to learn all that, that way — I’m sure it was not very fun sometimes.) Both my parents taught us how to be creative and work hard, but it was my mom who showed me that a woman could work just as hard as a man, and take care of all the things that a family needs, and still be kind and fun and not a total grouch, even though she was tired to the bone. It’s because of her that I know I can handle everything that comes our way. My dad taught and still teaches me the particulars of being a handy-person, but my mom taught me the can-do attitude. We had lots of challenges and we learned from watching to just tackle them head-on, look for the practical solution, and then get back to cookie-making.
I wish I were spending the day with her, but since travel is currently on-hold while we nurse Katie, this tribute will have to do. I celebrated in her honor by hemming shorts and ‘creatively’ altering a dress. Yeah. My sewing skills are barely passable. BUT — it seemed appropriate. Thanks for everything, Mom. You are an amazing role model and I’m so glad you are my mom. Love and miss you all the time.