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Interesting to Amazing: Moms are Amazing!!

How many women, if they could look into the future, would still decide to get married and have a family? There are few guarantees in this “deal.” I am awed when I consider what my mother went through. Would she still have married Sam from Rhode Island after WWII if she could have foreseen the following? She would have four children, three boys, all who periodically gave her difficulties, disrespectful mouths, and sour attitudes. One daughter, who Mom later told me she worried about more than us three boys together! Being a “nursemaid” to the cows, she would get up at least twice a night to go out to the barn and check on them. She would stay up if a cow were going to calve and call my father for help if needed (Dad installed a phone system between the house and barn), and call the veterinarian for further assistance if necessary.

Short order cook — the only time we would all sit down together and share a meal was after church on Sunday. The rest of the week Mom just always had tasty, self-serve meals prepared for us as she was often in the barn milking cows when we got home from school. She would carry meals out to us when we were working in the fields.

Bookkeeper extraordinaire — I marveled at how Mom was so organized with the check and ledger books with the receipts arranged and balanced to the penny. She did the taxes and never made a mistake. When I first started doing my taxes, they were always returned with errors. They weren’t as easy as Mom made them look. College financial aid forms, to me, seemed terribly complex, but Mom completed them quickly and quietly.

Children’s Nurse — since Mom and Dad grew up during the depression, going to the doctor meant you were going to die. I only remember going for vaccinations as a child. We did go routinely to the dentist and optometrist, thank goodness.

Educator — Mom, was high school valedictorian and was going to be a teacher, but decided to help the war effort first by going to work at the GE plant in Fort Wayne, Indiana. (Mom lost four classmates at Pearl Harbor December 7th.) She was a part of an assembly line making the motors that activated the bomb bay doors on Catalina flying boats. When the war ended, the teaching plans were dropped after meeting my dad and getting married. But Mom was still an excellent teacher. We had several dictionaries in the house, and we had to use reasonably correct grammar. Mom and Dad bought a set of Compton encyclopedias from my fourth-grade teacher even though money was tight. The fact the teacher was my mom’s cousin might have had something to do with the sale, too! We children didn’t know that until we were all past 4th grade — no chance for “insider favors.” In fact, she was quite strict with me; I think this was probably due to a request from Mom!

Mom was a nature lover — she taught us the various trees, birds, Indiana animals, cloud formations, star constellations, and predicting the weather needed for farming — especially while in the fields. Mom taught my sister and me how to play the piano. My sister went much further with the piano than I did. I guess there’s something useful about practicing after all! Mom played guitar and taught me how to strum many chords including barre chords. I went further with this instrument and played — or tried to for many years — the Classic Spanish guitar. There is a phrase that goes something like this, “Classic guitar is easy to play poorly and nigh impossible to play well.” I was indeed in the first category despite six years of lessons and several weeklong masters’ classes at various universities during the summers when I was in my 20s. No matter what, Mom always thought what I could play was wonderful even though I didn’t think so.

Mom loved and cared for us no matter how rotten we were. I remember her bringing home for us a few cookies and other treats wrapped in a napkin from her ladies club meeting — “The Friendly Neighbors Club.” As we usually didn’t have cookies and other sweets in the house, I used to think the meeting was a “next to heaven” event where everyone went to eat all the cookies and mixed nuts they wanted, and that was the evening!

Mom took care of animals, stray or known, pet or farm. As we were the first farm on the first gravel road a few miles out from town, we received a variety of “dumped” animals. Usually, cats and they just joined the “herd.” The stray dogs seemed to arrive at a time when we, or a neighbor, could take them in. My favorite animal find was one morning when a large, white goose, was found honking and walking around the house and barns. We claimed him and named him “Max.” Unfortunately, Max left a lot of big marks around, and I don’t mean footprints. Even though Mom loved animals, she and Dad soon found him a new home while we were at school. But we were OK with that after we learned that it had a lake and we knew the new owners.

There were so many more things my mother did, all without complaining even once. I remember her doing laundry for many years with a wringer washer. Since we had “hard” water with no softener that made it yet more of a chore, she hung everything on a clothesline. She did this even after getting a dryer. The dryer was for special items and inclement weather only.

All mothers have similar stories they could tell. There is no monetary reward, but what is gained is far greater and longer lasting. When I was older, I apologized to my mom for all the stupid and rude things I had said and done. I asked Mom if she ever regretted having children. She said, “Oh no, of course not. If I could have, I would have had more!” And Mom kept, I’m sure, every picture of us children ever taken. She left behind several albums, and shoeboxes full of pictures, and her wallet had in it several pictures of each of us at various ages.

Mothers exemplify love, selfless service, humility, putting others first, giving and expecting nothing in return — exactly what one of the best know verses, 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, in the Bible describes: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy; it does not boast; it is not proud. It does not dishonor others; it is not self-seeking; it is not easily angered; it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

Thank you, Mom, and moms everywhere! You are wonderful and amazing!

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