How did you find the energy, Mom
To do all the things you did,
To be teacher, nurse and counselor
To me, when I was a kid.
Does that little diddy describe your mother? For years I wanted to honor my Mother on Mother’s Day (as defined by Hallmark Cards). I went shopping at all the best card shop – Walmart, Walgreens, CVS Pharmacy – all the best places. But I could never find a card that described my mother.
My mother had seven children. My parents had one income. We lived in a small house. There were no automatic dishwashers or clothes washers, no dryers, no microwave, no drip coffee makers, no stand alone freezers, no second car, and no time for Mom to teach or counsel. Her energy was dedicated to cooking, laundry, dishes, and cleaning house when there was time. Mom had little patience for seven children scuffling on the floor in the dead of Missouri winters.
I don’t remember my parents ever entering any of my schools, grade school or high school. They did not see that as a part of their parental duty – teaching was for teachers. We were not introduced to baseball or basketball or swimming at the YMCA. We were encouraged to be honest and trustworthy – to be thoughtful of others. (Nine people in a small house requires some degree of consideration for others.
I could never find a Mother’s day card that reflected the parenting style of my Mother.
How did you do it all, Mom,
Be a chauffeur, cook and friend,
Yet find time to be a playmate,
I just can’t comprehend.
My mother was a descent cook – we had three course meals nearly every evening. Meat and potatoes baked, fried, and boiled – 256 varieties – just like Wendy’s. Our clothes were clean for school. We were awakened in the morning, rushed through our routine and sent out the door to walk to school. My mother never learned to drive – and we only had one car anyway.
I think of all the things you gave to me:
Sacrifice, devotion, love and tears,
Your heart, your mind, your energy and soul–
All these you spent on me throughout the years.
The poetry of Hallmark never fit my image of my mother. She did not have time for all the ‘extras’ as defined in the gushy cards – and I don’t think my mother was entirely different than other mothers. People just buy these nonsensical things because – well I don’t know why – maybe the denial makes everyone feel better.
Do you think when your mother gets a card from you that she actually believes the poetic sentiments are yours? Do you suppose you might just be giving her a sarcastic guilt trip – because she knows that the poetry does n0t define her?
I remember one year I found a card that accurately described my feelings toward my mother. It was simple and straightforward. It simply stated:
Mom, home is where you live.