The Quiet Mother

Yesterday, a blog post prompted me to think about my mother.  Click here to visit that site.  Although I simply commented on a memory of a calf being born, the post gave me much more to contemplate.  With Mother’s Day just around the corner, allow me to tell you about my mother.

Once, while sharing childhood stories with my husband, he asked why I didn’t have any memories of my mother.  “I have plenty of memories of my mother”, I replied.  “You only mention your father, not your mother, ” he insisted.  That shocked me and caused me to really consider the possibilities.  Perhaps, it was just because my father was such a dominant presence? He did have a tendency to drive home whatever message he wanted my sisters and I to learn.  But why did memories with my mother not make a bigger impression?  Here is what I can tell you about my mother.  She was quiet, but she was always there.

My first memories go back to the age of one year old.  The memories don’t include my mother’s face but she was there by my side,  rubbing my legs when I complained of them hurting.  She was with me, at my bedside, hospitalized for those same pains.  I can still picture The Creation images from the Children’s Bible that she read to me.  She walked me down the hall in that same hospital to a giant bathtub since I could not use the shower in my hospital room.  I only recently realized that it wasn’t really a giant bathtub as it was in my memory, but more likely a normal sized tub that appeared giant only because I was one year old.

Jump forward a few years, I remember my mother walking me to the front door of my kindergarten classroom, and my eyes filling with tears as she walked away.  A couple of years later, she was doing her student teaching in the classroom adjacent to mine.  She was never far away.  A couple of years later, I had two younger siblings and I remember watching her graduate college.  I was so excited to find her in that sea of caps and gowns.  Of course, I could never forget all those times she brushed my hair, despite my complaints that she was “stretching my eyes”!  In the 5th grade, I announced that I was now doing my own hairstyling.  I’ve never looked so well-groomed in any of my school photos since.

There were moments when my mother impressed me.  Like the time, I was practicing for a cheerleader tryout and unable to jump and touch my toes, the Texas T, we called it.  She proceeded to demonstrate by jumping and touching her toes to her feet stretched straight out in front of her, like a pike formation.  My jaw practically hit the ground.  I never did master that move.

And there were times I was afraid of losing her.  At one point, I can remember her talking quietly to my father in the other room, while crying.  I don’t know why, but I thought it meant she was dying, and it devastated me.  She wasn’t.  She doesn’t even remember the incident when I asked her about it recently.  Perhaps, it was the day she was diagnosed with Diabetes Mellitus.

But some of the most special memories that I have of my mother, involved sewing.  I started sewing when I was nine years old, as part of a 4-H project.  Being the perfectionist that I was, the stitching on those circular sleeves had me in tears.  I couldn’t get the stitches straight so she would tell me to rip it out and start again.  I would cry each time I got almost to the end and the stitch would go crooked.  She’d tell me to rip it out again.  She would let me go on like this until late, then she would send me to bed to get some rest.  In the morning, I would wake and find my armhole completely sewn, perfectly. I loved her for that.  Not only that but I can recall many occasions when one of us girls needed a special dress or uniform for some function.  I would hear that sewing machine working all night long.  She would literally work through the entire night just for us.  The sound of my mother’s love is the sound of a sewing machine, that mechanical pumping up and down, straight and steady.

P.S.  My mother has suffered with Diabetes for many years.  Her kidneys are very weak and her diet is extremely limited.  Several years ago, I began riding in the Tour de Cure for the American Diabetes Association.  This event is responsible for raising nearly all the funds in the American Diabetes Association’s budget for research and education.  My mom didn’t know how to ride a bicycle but two years ago, I convinced her to try.  She and my dad bought bikes and trained at home.  She completed 15 miles in 105 degree head in Dallas, TX in 2012.  I was so proud of her.  This year, I’ll be riding for her and for all the other diabetics again.  If you feel called, please visit my Tour de Cure page to donate to this cause, by clicking here.  Every dollar counts.

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