Mother

Today is my mother’s birthday. Only she’s been gone now for 14 years. I think about her almost every day. She loved Nieman Marcus and especially the tea room. My daughters and I were going to go eat there today in honor of her, but our younger daughter and her husband have gone to Mexico to attend a good friend’s wedding. We will reschedule. I’m preaching at our church for the Gifts of Women this Sunday. Mom would be proud. I’ll report next week how that goes.

About 4 years ago, I wrote a post about Mom for Mother’s Day. You can read it below and I hope comment: img_1459

I was blessed with having a wonderful mother. She’s been gone about 10 years now. I miss her every day, and I feel closer to her every day. She wasn’t perfect. None of us I’ve met is. I definitely have some quirks I think are from growing up with her in our family. Can we say, “controlling?” or “perfectionist?” Or what about “forgotten Christmas gifts?” LOL

Mom was born in South Carolina and despite moving around the country with my Air Force father, kept a smidgen of her southern accent. She was the quintessential “southern lady.” She always sat with her knees together. The few times I saw her chewing gum seemed odd. The quiet “damn” that she occasionally sent toward crazy drivers, always startled. Pictures from the 1940’s show an attractive, trim, saucy young woman with loads of dark brown, curly hair. Hair with streaks of red that show up in my hair and in one of my grands. 🙂

She cared about others. Always sent cards to people who were ill, bereaved, or to remember their birthday. I confess this isn’t a tradition I’ve carried on of hers. I’m trying with e-cards. I’m afraid she’d see these as lacking in quality. 🙂

In an age of stay-at-home moms, Mother returned to work as a secretary when I was in third grade. I have no memory of child-care issues at all. I think I must’ve gone home to an empty house. (We lived on a base—ha! A gated community before they were popular. Never thought of that before.) My father got home around 4:30, so I wasn’t home alone long. I had friends in our neighborhoods, and we played outside and at their houses. Most of the other mothers were home. I remember reading Gail Sheehy’s PASSAGES in the 70’s, but I couldn’t relate.

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Mom worked in Civil Service and over the years moved up from bosses who were Colonels over departments to bosses who were Generals in charge of the whole base. I’ve read over some of her evaluations. Her bosses appreciated her and knew how lucky they were she worked with them. She worked hard to become a Certified Professional Secretary. That may be called something different now, but it was a big deal all those years ago.  I was in high school or perhaps early college when Mother told me that during the cold war, she’d been one of the secretaries selected to go into the bunkers with the President and Administration up in Virginia in the case of an attack. I remember feeling so incredibly proud of that. It wasn’t until much later I wondered what that would’ve meant for my father and me. I’m not sure Daddy knew. She was sworn to secrecy. In retrospect, I’m surprised she told me, but glad she did.

Mother was very good at organizations. Sorority, PTA, church, National Secretary’s Association, you name it. If Mom belonged, she got involved. (Hmm, another characteristic I hadn’t realized I got from her.) Along with my curved, little fingers and the ring toe on my right foot that angles outward.

She left Civil Service when my father retired, and they moved closer to their grandchildren, who they loved beyond anything. She went to work for a large corporation where we live, and true to form became secretary for one of the top people. After my dad died, Mother quit work for a time. People told her she should. But you have to do what makes you happy, and that was working. During the two years she didn’t work, the switch to computers happened. She went back, and she learned what she needed to manage those machines! I was amazed and super proud of her. When I get frustrated with technology, I remind myself of what Mom had to face. If she could do what she did, then I know I can too.

Mom was also a writer. When she did finally retire, she joined the Woman’s Club and was a member of their creative writing section. I have several nice pieces she wrote for their annual book. One was about Christmas when she was a little girl. One was about her first job working in an orphanage. One was when she was a young person in the Civil Air Patrol.

photo (7)She also wrote small pamphlets she paid a company to publish for her. I think she made enough to pay for the cost of publishing. They were: Prayers & Inspirations for Parents of Teenagers. Prayers and Inspirations for Senior Citizens. Effective Public Speaking. When she first moved into the retirement center, she wrote the newsletter for them. Recently, I needed to pull some thoughts together about making presentations, and I referenced her work on public speaking. It was very useful.

That’s a good way to describe Mom. She always wanted to be useful, to help others, to do her best. And she did. She loved my father, me, her granddaughters, her country, and her God. She made a difference here.

I hope you will share some of your stories about your mother or your own experiences being a mother. I’d love to hear from you.

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15 responses to “Mother

  1. She sounds like an amazing woman, as all mothers are, and I suspect she was very proud of you. My mother has been dead for over ten years now but I still think of her often and she’ll always live on in my heart.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey, Pat. Yes, it’s interesting how often I think of her or I think, I wish I’d asked Mom that… Sounds like we were both super lucky in our mothers. Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

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  2. What a beautiful tribute to your mum, Marsha. She would have been very proud of everything you’ve achieved, and of your lovely growing family. Thanks for sharing your memories.
    I’m lucky in that my own mother is still with us. She celebrated her 90th birthday in April. She and my dad have seen a LOT in those 90 years. Best wishes to you for Mother’s Day. We had ours here in March, so will have to wait another year to celebrate 🙂

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    • Hey, Helena. I love how you say, “mum.” Sweet. And wow, you’re lucky to have both your parents still with you. Mom would’ve been 100 today if she’d lived. I have a friend whose father made 103, but that’s pretty unusual. Wonder why we have different months for Mother’s Day. Enjoy the time with your folks. Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

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  3. Love this post, Marsha. Mom’s are special, they support us even when they don’t necessarily agree, lol. I still have my mom (she lives next door!) and value everything she tells me.
    Happy Mother’s Day!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Marsha. What a thoughtful tribute to your mom. I loved my mom, and like your mom, she turns 100 in September if she were still on this earth. She’s been gone 24 years. And like you, I think of her almost every day, but keep her alive for my kids and grandkids by telling stories about her and digging out old photos. I relate the story on my blog this week about the time when I had her for my second grade teacher. Tough year for both of us. I would love to be sitting in your church on Sun to hear your Mother’s Day message. I know you’ll do great–getting those perfectionist and storytelling genes from Your mother!! Have a Happy Mother’s Day!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey, JQ. Interesting our moms were the same age. I’ll have to read about that year your mom was your teacher. Yikes, that’s got to be tough. I was a girl scout leader with one of the girls and was a cheerleader sponsor for one of them, but she actually set the routines. Still the issues of not either over-looking your child or giving too much attention to your child is a balancing act. We’ll have to find a time to meet up some place, JQ. Thanks for your kind words about the sermon. Have a lovely Sunday, yourself. Thanks for stopping by.

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  5. Hi, Marsha! What a beautiful piece about your mom. My mom was ultra creative. She sewed like a dream. She and her sisters met every Monday at my grandmother’s house and they quilted, knitted, sewed, embroidered, crocheted. One thing I’ve kept is a 4th grade book report project. We had to make a hat based on the book we read. She helped me measure, cut and paste together an Uncle Sam top hat.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey, Vicki. Thanks and thanks for sharing about your mom. She was quite creative. Mom knitted some and sewed some when I was little. She went back to work when I was in third grade and most of that fell by the wayside. Love that you’ve kept the hat project. Great memory. Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

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  6. A wonderful tribute to your mother, Marsha. I have a lot to be proud of with my mother as well. Besides raising seven children with my father (All seven other than myself went on to advanced degrees. I have a B.S. in Nursing ) she volunteered at several church, charity, school, and political organizations. She canned and froze fruits and vegetables from our large garden every year for the winter months. She sewed our clothes, coats, and my wedding dress. I remember she made several suits for me when I went off to college. She also knit everyone sweaters. She was extremely smart and also wrote some articles for the Christian Mothers at church and won a writing competition. I think of my parents every day also. Since this was about your mother, I won’t add anything about my father, but he was an amazing person as well. 🙂

    I’m actually at Corbin’s today, so this is short. I need to get back to him.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey, Susan. Wow, what a talented Mom you had. To begin with she survived raising 7 kids! Yikes! I can’t even imagine doing all the things she did. I see a lot of her in you with many of your interests, Susan. We were certainly blessed in our mothers. I’m with Sarah, my youngest for a couple of days while her parents are at a wedding. She’s a precocious 5 and keeps me jumping, like your Corbin. We are blessed. Thanks for taking time to stop by.

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  7. Marsha, I am proud to have known your mother, but, of course, I didn’t know all these things about her. She was definitely a Southern lady, and yet she was a professional during times when women weren’t often in that role, And she was so creative with her writings. No wonder you are the woman you are!. She would have been so proud of you on Sunday when you preached from the pulpit of our church to celebrate the Gifts of Women.
    My own Mother was a gifted woman, a music major in college, when few woman went to college. She graduated in 1932 from Erskine College in SC. She taught school for ten years until I was born, and then she became a stay-at-home Mom for 22 years. I don’t think she felt that was her only calling, but she did it as a wise and loving woman. She did a lot of women’s work in the church during those years, serving as circle chair, president of the Women of Church, Sunday School teacher,and Vacation Bible School leader. She took me to the Civic Music programs in our small town for years until the auditorium burned down and the programs stopped. She was in charge of the annual band fruit cake sale. My friends liked to hang around her and often described her as a woman beyond her time. She began teaching again when I took my first job. Over the years, she taught English, music, Latin, math, and even AGRICULTURE because the school needed an AG teacher. At age 54, she had to go back to school to re-certify and also earn certification in math because that is what the job was. She was an avid reader, watched politics intently, and became a devoted Arkansas Razorback fan in her retirement years. She has been gone 11 years. At 95, she left us with a completely sharp mind intact.
    Marsha, thank you for providing the opportunity to share thoughts about my own mother. I loved hearing about your mother.

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