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:
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.
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.
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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