I’ll be having lunch with my mother on this Mother’s Day 2011 at the assisted care place where she lives. She does not get around quite as well as she used to, but at 100 she still does get around.
It occurs to me mom had a child or children at home for a long time. She had her first child, my oldest brother, in 1929, and then came my sister in 1941, and my other brother in 1945 — and then, surprise, surprise, me in 1949. And I did not leave the house until 1967 — 1929 to 1967 — that is one heck of a lot of mothering, I‘d say.
While I’m sure mom wishes she could be more active now, I’m equally sure she is thankful she is done raising kids and done with full-time housekeeping.
Now to be sure, mom knew how to pace herself. I recall when I was little and the other siblings were in school (my oldest one in the Navy) she would take a nap in the middle of the day. Having me lie down too, this settled me down for a time and allowed her to rejuvenate.
But mom’s day began early, for many years at 4 a.m., when dad was going to work real early, but at least by 6 or 7 a.m. throughout those child raising years. She fixed breakfast for him and then for the kids.
I’m compressing time here because we lived in different places, but being the baby of the family I have a lot of memories of being alone at home with mom. I recall walking with her or maybe riding on my tricycle while she walked to a grocery store many long blocks away from home. We only had one car, for much of the time, and dad had it at work. She would walk back from the store with two full bags of groceries under her arms.
Mom cleaned house, did laundry, hung the clothes on the line, ironed them, cooked meals — from scratch, not the box, and this was pre-microwave days. She was nurse and even doctor to us when we were sick — my folks only took us to the real doctor in emergencies. My folks were frugal, and this was before most people had medical insurance (okay many don’t now too or have lost it).
Mom was always a room mother at school and baked cookies for PTA meetings and back-to-school nights — and she baked them; she didn’t just run by the store and pick up a package of Oreos.
Right about now any modern mother who holds down a full-time job might be saying, “and you don’t think I don’t do all of this and work outside the home too?” No, in some ways it must be much harder to be a mother today if you try to meet all the obligations the stay-at-home moms did or do. But I’m just writing about my memories and thoughts of my own upbringing and mom. I was brought up in that mythical or not-so-mythical 1950s era of the Leave it to Beaver (television sitcom).
The world has changed, as we all know. The economic and social demands put upon women are far different now.
But I miss the stability and comfort and security of my mom’s time as a mother.
My late wife did both, the old method of stay-at-home housewife and later something more similar to the modern method of going to work and then coming home to work.
It’s all hard work and it should be appreciated.
So today, let’s all show our appreciation if we are fortunate enough to have our mothers still with us.
Here’s to Mom!