Eighteen years have passed since my mother died. Whoever said that time heals all wounds obviously hadn't yet lost his mother.
I wonder why it is that we sometimes develop an appreciation for our mothers when it is too late to tell them so. I am so very grateful to her for her patience in teaching me all there was to know about keeping a home, for that is what she did.
She married right after WWII, in an era where Dad's went off to work in the morning and Mom's stayed home and washed the clothes and scrubbed the floors and baked the cookies and cooked the meals. She sewed our clothes and mended them when we were careless and put holes in them. She saw to it that we went to church. She made sure we understood the importance of family. And she made sure that I learned the lessons well.
When we are young, we tend to resent having to stay home to help with the Saturday house cleaning ritual (Just in case we get company on Sunday.), or to help with the canning of garden vegetables and cases of peaches (If we don't do this now, we won't eat this winter.), or to learn how to sew a dress (If you can sew, you will always have nice clothes to wear.). We want to be with our friends instead of sitting on the back steps shelling a tub full of peas.
And when we get to be young adults, we are way too busy and way too self-important to even think about the person who taught us the things that now make our lives better. When money is tight and we refrain from buying a new blouse, but sew one for ourselves, it doesn't occur to us to thank the person who spent hours showing us how it was done. When we have children of our own to feed, we don't think about the person who taught us to fry a chicken without burning the daylights out of it or how to roast a piece of beef without winding up with a chunk of shoe leather.
It is now, when I am in the twilight of my life, that I think the most about the woman who raised me. If she had not taken the time and had the patience (Lord only knows, she needed a basketful of patience with me.), I would not be enjoying this time of my life nearly as much as I do. I wouldn't know how to do so many things that now occupy my time and that I enjoy. I wouldn't have as great an appreciation for my family as I do. And I wouldn't have the values that are important to me.
I wish I had told her more often than I did. I hope she knows that the rebellious girl-child she dealt with has come full circle, and has acquired an appreciation for all of the hard work it took to get me to this point. And that even though I have, over the years, strayed far afield from my mother's teachings, I never forgot. She taught me well.
Thank you, Mom. I love and miss you.
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