Sunday, May 14, 2006

Happy Mother'sDay

My 2 favorite women and me

A Mother's Love
Helen Steiner Rice

A Mother's love is something that no one can explain,
It is made of deep devotion and of sacrifice and pain,
It is endless and unselfish
and enduring come what may
For nothing can destroy it
or take that love away . . .
It is patient and forgiving when all others are forsaking,
And it never fails or falters
even though the heart is breaking . . .
It believes beyond believing
when the world around condemns,
And it glows with all the beauty
of the rarest, brightest gems . . .
It is far beyond defining, it defies all explanation,
And it still remains a secret
like the mysteries of creation . . .
A many splendoured miracle
man cannot understand
And another wondrous evidence
God's tender guiding hand.

My mom sacrificed a great deal for us. Besides being pregnant for the first 10 years of her marriage, she made a few major moves - some all by herself since my dad was busy with his Air Force career. She moved from San Antonio - her home - a newlywed, away from her family and all that was familiar to her - to Lincoln, NB. And then moved with a newborn just 6 months after I was born, to Wichita Falls, TX. Within the next 6 years she had 4 kids, and moved us all - by herself - to Loan AFB, France to join my dad in Europe. A year later we were in Germany, and she had 2 more kids. With 6 of us now, and my youngest sister still an infant, we all moved back to the states to Indiana for a year before dad retired.

Another year later, we were all piled in a station wagon for a cross country trip to Texas, where they eventually settled. I was 10, and my youngest sister was only 1. She put up with the crying, my sister getting carsick, my brother wetting his clothes, and all of us doing what a pack of kids do when they're cooped up in a tight space for a few days. She never let on to us that she was stressed. She was a picture of perfection and grace. She honored my dad, took care of all of us, and just loved us.

Mom never worked outside the home while we were growing up. None of us were "latchkey" kids. She was always home when we got home from school. She made us snacks. She cooked us good dinners, helped us with our homework, made sure we were all clean, fed, and rested when we settled down for the night. And we never heard her complain. If anyone could ever push her buttons, it was me. The only time I ever remember her losing her cool was when I was being a total rebellious ass over the dinner table. My dad hadn't gotten home yet, and I was really being a little shit and not letting up. In front of all my siblings, mom picked up the entire salad bowl full of salad, and chunked it at me. That wasn't the worst part - she saved that for when my dad got home. I must have really gone over the edge to get my mom to lose her cool like that. I remember dad's lecture that night: "Son, there's 3 things you never mess with - a man's car, a man's money, and a man's wife." Total fear.

Mom was my dad's faithful partner for 48 years before he died. She was holding his head when he took his last breath. She loved him to the most she could give. Mom is still there when I go "home." Our relationship has gone to another level, a deeper one, and for that I am grateful. It's still a comfort to head "home" and know she's there, tending her garden, cooking something, or just being Mom. Happy Mother's Day, Mom. I love you.

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