May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day!!

For the first time since my mother died I did not think of buying her a mother's day card, but my thoughts have been of her. I often wonder how she managed to raise her children in the time and place that she did. I know it took its toll on her.

Living in rural West Virginia, in a five room house, just barely making ends meet, she managed to turn out six children into the world. She also managed to put up vegetables and fruits every summer with an old fashioned canner, sweat streaming from her face. Having no indoor plumbing, she managed somehow to keep us all clean, and our clothes as well. I remember the old wringer washer she used, and how many buckets of water it took to wash clothes all day. No dryer meant hanging clothes on the line that stretched across our yard, supported by wooden poles. If one of the poles slipped and the clothes touched the ground, she washed them over again. Before I came along, she also tended to farm animals, as my father worked away from home.

With me coming along just after her fortieth birthday, and my father's ulcer, the farm animals disappeared. Looking back, I know she suffered from what we would call today anxiety, and it manifested itself in many ways. She refused to see a doctor, and never left the home place during the time I grew up. Eventually, her health would force her out into the world, and, despite her fears, she coped. In her own way she always seemed to cope with life's misfortunes.

I watched her as she paced our small house during the Viet Nam years, wondering if her favorite child was still alive. All of her letters to him were being returned, marked Missing in Action. I remember her radiant relief at the end of the summer of 1966, when she found out he was in a hospital in Hawaii and would be coming home soon.

I remember how she made each Christmas special, even when there were no gifts under the tree. She managed somehow to give us all hope.

She was not the demonstrative kind of mother that hugged you all the time, but when she said you had done well, you felt a sense of pride.

So many times during the past three years I have wanted so dearly to talk to her. And sometimes I do. Does she hear me? I don't know, but this is for you Mother. Thanks for all that you did. I'll never know how hard it was for you, but thanks for being there when you could.


dawn said...

Hey girl it's nice to see you back, weve been together a long time. I haven't gone back yet my office is moving the end of next week and I'm crazy. Hopefully I'll feel like writting on my blog soon
love ya

Mary said...

I tagged you. Will you come out and play?

dawn said...

I hope you come out to play because you know your my fav

alphonsedamoose said...

I'm sure she heard and knew before you ever told her now.
Happy Mother's Day to you.