A Tribute to My Mother
I believe that of all the people in the world that we have unrealistic, high expectations for, it is our mothers. They are to love unconditionally forgive quickly without our acknowledgement of our offenses, be available when we need them, be strong, know just the right words to say or not say in each situation, be silent unless advice is requested, let us go to do our own thing, but be available when we fall. They are supposed to look good, feel good and act good all the time.
Mothers are Human
The problem is, moms are human. They aren’t always strong, wise and perfect. Some of our moms have handicaps we can’t see. My mother grew up during the depression in an orphanage. She might have been adopted, but her father’s deathbed wish was not to separate the three children. This prevented all of them from being adopted, even though they were each very intelligent, gifted, artistic children.
So without a mother to nurture and care for her, she had no role model to show her the way. She had five baby boomers who came along after the war. Life was not easy for my dad who came home from the service a young man with a family he didn’t know how to support. I remember my mom on her hands and knees scrubbing the kitchen floor in her jeans. I remember the old wringer washer that she used every day.
When I was nine I can remember a neighbor girl telling everyone that my mother was going to have a baby. “Nicki, if you lie to one more person like that, I am going to tell your mom what you are doing. It’s not right to tell the whole neighborhood that my mother is going to have a baby.”
When I got home that day I told my mother, “Nicki has been telling the whole neighborhood that you are going to have a baby. I told her to quit lying or I would tell her mother.”
“Bob,” my mother said to my dad. “I think we need to tell the children.”
A few weeks later my brother Randy was born and I fell head over heels in love for the first time.
In our family, we didn’t talk about sex or pregnancy. I didn’t know where babies came from until I was thirteen.
My mom wanted a career. She wanted to paint. She had hopes and dreams that could never be fulfilled because she had five kids. Whenever she had money, it was spent on the kids. All of us learned to cook and clean at an early age. There isn’t one of us that doesn’t have a strong work ethic because it took all of us to make a family work.
My dad was a fireman retiring from the Kansas City fire department. Two of my brothers became firemen and Randy became an expert carpenter. Randy didn’t like books. Neither did I until I learned to read at the age of 23. But Randy loved shop class. Today he has built five homes doing all the architecture and design himself.
My mother was an artist who didn’t have time to paint until all her children were grown. After mom became legally blind with macular degeneration she began painting. We were all shocked at her beautiful paintings. It was like Beethoven writing a symphony when he could not hear. After I was diagnosed with Macular Degeneration mom came to my home and said, “You are not going to wait until you’re blind to start painting. You are going to start right now and I am going to help you.” I still can’t paint as good as my mother, but I have surprised myself at having a talent I would never have discovered had it not been for my mother.
A Special Gift
When my dad’s mother, Grandmother Mary died, I found a drawer full of quilt pieces that her employees from her sewing factory had embroidered for her. I told my mother that I wished I knew how to quilt. I would put all the pieces together in loving memory of gramma Mary. On my birthday a few years later I was shocked when I opened mom’s present, a quilt of all gramma’s quilt pieces. She had taken a quilting class to make that for me.
When I was 16 I got pregnant. I was a junior in high school. One of my mom’s life dreams was to finish high school. I told her I would go to night school if she would go with me. I went in to take the finals with my three-day old baby daughter, Kim. The teacher said, “You don’t need to take the test. Anyone as dedicated to graduating as you, has already passed.” It was a good thing because I most likely would have flunked because of my low reading level. My mom and I graduated from High School together.
My parents aren’t perfect, but they have always been there for all their children and grandchildren. I had some hurts from my childhood, but have come to realize we all make mistakes and my mother spent a lifetime trying to make up for her mistakes. We are Partneys and we stick together and love each other no matter what.
Saying Goodbye to My Mother
Mom, I didn’t get to say goodbye and I don’t know if I ever even said, “Thank You.”
Mom died in October of 2011. After mom died I kept praying, “God, is my mom in heaven? Is she alright?” As I sat down to rest one afternoon I saw a vision of my mother standing between her mother and father. She was joyously happy. The tears of her childhood were healed. “Every tear shall be wiped from their eyes.
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