I woke up before my alarm this morning – thinking about my mother. Since it is Mother’s Day I decided to write down those early morning thoughts about her, and some of the unspoken gifts she’s given me throughout my life.
1. Holding Back My Hair. I always had long hair. Children are prone to catching whatever is going around, and I had my fair share of stomach viruses through the years. But Mom was always there to hold my hair back out of my face – no matter the time of day or night. Her simple act of love always made my heart feel better, even if my stomach disagreed. Thank you for the yucky times and the warm washcloths to wipe my mouth.
2. Trips to the Library. We visited the library often. Mom never discouraged the huge pile of books I took home, and frequently read my books, as well, so we could discuss them together. Thank you for instilling a love of literature that stays with me still.
3. Classic Movies. My mother and I watched so many classic movies together – usually when I stayed home sick from school, so it was just the two of us. I’d have a box of saltines, a bowl of her homemade chicken noodle soup, plenty of pillows, and Ginger Rogers as my role model for the ideal follow. I scheduled sick days around the American Movie Classics channel, so thanks, Mom, for introducing me to the good stuff.
4. Sick Days. Thanks, Mom, for letting me stay home for 1/3 of my seventh grade year just to hang out with you. Granted, there were some legitimate health issues some of the time, but not all of the time. I am grateful you knew I could keep up with the work – which I did – and that we got time together – which I needed.
5. Red Shoes. From a very early age I knew red shoes and I were destined to be together. I thank my mother for this. My Sears Catalog choice each year was always the red sneakers.
6. Swimming Lessons. I’ve never asked her why she signed us up for swimming lessons each summer, but with eight kids, what mother wouldn’t want to get rid of us for a few hours a day? It doesn’t really matter to me why, but I am so grateful to know how to swim. Thanks, Mom, for forcing me to learn more than the doggy paddle.
7. Homemade Food & Family Dinners. We ate together as a family. Every night. And Mom cooked her signature dishes we all loved – even if she wasn’t crazy about them, herself. Where else could I learn to love homemade macaroni and cheese with stewed tomatoes and green peas – all on top? Or the fact that the best cakes are the cakes that don’t come from a box. To this day – my favorite is Mom’s yellow cake with her chocolate icing. Thank you, Mom, for showing me how to boil water.
8. Sewing. My mother is an excellent seamstress and as a little girl there was nothing more wonderful than being in the sewing room beside my mother as she put together another dress for me or painstakingly taught me how to sew, too. Even now when I get a whiff of a hot burst of steam out of an iron I am instantly transported to our third-floor sewing room on a hot summer day. And, truthfully, nobody makes or fixes things like you, Mom – so I still prefer your work to my own, but I am grateful for the love of craft and the art of a job well-done you gifted to me.
9. I Often Go Walking. This is the title for a children’s song we learned in Primary and would typically sing as young children to our mother on Mothers’ Day during church.
I often go walking in meadows of clover, and I gather armfuls of blossoms of blue. Dear Mother, all flowers remind me of you. Oh, Mother, I give you my love with each flower, to give forth sweet fragrance a whole lifetime through. For if I love meadows, and springtime, and walking, I learned how to love them, dear Mother, from you.
I love this song so very much, and when I think about all the dead flowers you must have received – all the Dandelions, and Buttercups, and Bluebells, and Clover – I am grateful you always received each bouquet with a smile and a juice glass ready to grace our kitchen table.
10. Grammar and Spelling. If you think I’m bad at correcting others – I just want you to know the apple definitely didn’t fall far from the tree. I still remember the day I learned to spell the word people correctly. I was reading something I wrote aloud to my grandmother and my mother, who simultaneously corrected my grammar and asked to see how I’d written that word! Thank you, Mom, for teaching me the most important sentence: “Look it up.”
11. Heritage. I am named for my third great grandmother on my mother’s side. Her name is Arminda Barringer. I have always been proud to be her namesake. Thank you, Mom, for choosing her name especially for me, and for not allowing those who would desire its shortening to do so.
While this list is certainly not comprehensive, nor does it attempt to address all the wonderful qualities so many mothers possess – it is about my own mother I wrote this. My mother gave me life and allowed me the freedom to live it. If I can just strive to be the person my mother believes me to be – I am confident I will be a good addition to this world, and perhaps do something worthwhile to honor her name.
Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. I love you.