Sunday, October 4, 2015

Happy Birthday to our Mother

October 4 was always a special day for me because that was mother's birthday.  I tried to send her a birthday message and a card every year that she was still with us.  Today we, your children--Louise, Dwight, Elizabeth, Judy, Ann and Steve--remember and honor you on your birthday.

Here is the home where you grew up with your parents and three of your siblings.

Here is the church you attended as a girl and where I was given a blessing by my grandfather.

Here you are in Sunlight with Louise and Dwight

Family photo minus Dwight and Elizabeth

I was fortunate to spend only seventeen years of my life at home with mom and dad.  Those years, however, were enough to light my life with memories to last a life time.  One of the saddest times of my years was when we moved back from Pennsylvania to Wyoming to be near our families only to have dad and mom move far away only two years after we returned.  I was only privileged to see mom a precious small handful of times during the rest of her life.  The influence that mom had on me during my years at home and the support she gave me by writing weekly letters during my four grueling years of college have enriched my life forever despite our limited contact during the later years.

I remember Mom reading to us from her college Children's Literature text, one of the few books we had.  I remember re-mopping the kitchen floor at her behest when I had given it only a lick and a promise.  I remember her long nights of care and concern during the lonely years when dad was gone so often.  I remember Mom and Dad letting me leave for college at age 17 without a penny in my pocket without either of them stopping me and asking me how on earth I thought I could get through college without any money.  I remember mountains of fried potatoes and invalid eggs and pancakes and orange cake and chocolate pudding and beans and tomatoes and macaroni and applesauce and canned peaches and pears and beans and peas and anything else she could can.  I remember Mom turning the water from the Shoshone River down the rows of her garden where she raised everything that could be raised plus gladiolus and dahlias.  I remember the worries and concerns our parents had during the long days and weeks of various illnesses that we children seemed to excel at experiencing.

I watched Mother teach Sunday School and then I knew how to teach.  I watched Mom and Dad work and then I knew how to work.  I watched my parents subsist on practically nothing and then I knew how to be frugal.  I watched my parents persevere and then I knew how to tough it out, how to get by. I learned not to cut corners, to do the best job possible and I learned the penalties of shirking one's duty.  These are the eternal gifts I received from home in lieu of money.  These are the gifts that have guided my life and have lit my path during troubled times.  These are the gifts that have made my own accomplishments possible in the face of overwhelming odds against success.

I know that somewhere Mom is in a garden picking big red strawberries and raspberries and digging new potatoes and picking corn and fresh peas.  I know that she is in a field of flowers, tall multi-colored gladiolus and gigantic dahlias.  I know that she has spent every day of her existence both during and after her earth life with feelings of concern, hope, and love for each of her six children. We were never perfect and I know you never considered yourself perfect.  But, thanks to you, we were good enough. We made the grade.  We learned our p's and q's and our abc's.  And we owe it all to you.  So, once more, happy birthday.  May your flowers be beautiful and your pain be long gone and may we all look forward to a reunion some day.  With love from your children.


Ann said...

There is nothing more to say than an Amen to Dwight's "thank you Mom", and a thank you to Dwight for beautifully writing about those lessons learned so long ago. I'm not sure whether to shed a few tears or smile - I'll probably just do both.

Elizabeth said...

What a loving tribute to our mother! She was oh, so faithful to us, her children, and would do anything for us as long as we were on the track - and she tried ever so hard to keep us going! We learned about the value of humor, as well as serious stuff. And, we learned to bear our burdens gracefully because she did. She taught me how to play the piano by purchasing the John Thompson books and then listening from wherever she was in the house so she could nudge me when I wasn't counting right - and to sit up straight. When she was told she had breast cancer and would need to have surgery, I was with her, and she didn't tell me until she began driving on one of her favorite tree-lined streets in Olympia, and then it was dry and matter-of-fact. We'll face adversity with courage because of her example. There, now your words and mine have made a few tears fall, but we were so fortunate to have her love and example.

Steve Blood said...


Judy said...

Thank you, Dwight, for pointing me in the direction of your post in honor of our mother.
It is all good, but your very best is the paragraph about what you learned from the experiences of Mother's life. The perfect summary. She would approve!