I can still smell the homemade bread and buns baking in the kitchen. Can’t wait until they get out of the oven. Eight or ten hands waiting impatiently armed with a knife for butter to wipe over the top or coat the inside. Maybe just grab it while it’s hot and eat it.
I remember the time she baked pies. Loved to bake. Mince Meat, I think. For dinner, she cut a huge piece for my dad and a tiny sliver for her. After many questions as to why the difference in sizes, we find out that at one time, there were two pies, and now only one. Hmmm . . . And they laughed, Dad with his hearty roar, Mom a bit sheepishly. But they laughed. Laughter is good. Always good.
In the early years before I was born, there was always one or two in diapers. Donna and Judy. Mary and Betty. Joanne and Jack, I think. Camping trips using the trailer that dad built himself. The tent that leaked. At Christmas riding through town so Mom could see the lights on houses, and always finding a road that would take us to the A & W Root Beer.
All of us packed in the green station wagon. A Plymouth. The radio didn’t work so we sang in three and four part harmony. Still remember those songs and the older ones angry at us younger ones if we missed a note. Mom turning around and winking at us that it was okay. More than okay.
Ten of us. Not easy raising a family during the depression, World War II. One bathroom. Ten kids. One salary. Hand-me-downs. Recycled toys. Mostly, we had each other. Mom and Dad. That was enough. More than enough.
Saint? Not by a long-shot. Sinner? Probably, but who am I to judge? I have my own sins, my own transgressions to worry about. And worry I do. Perfect, no not really. Except maybe to me. Did the best she could with what she had in her backpack. We all do, and she no less.
Hurts and sharp words? A lot. It happens. We do the best we can at the time. No guide book, no manual that says . . .
Saw her husband, my dad pass away in ’78. Saw her daughters, my sisters pass away. Saw a son-in-law pass away to join his wife, my sister. Saw . . .
She’s 98. Seen a lot. Watched even more. Listened and heard and laughed and cried. Me too.
When I visit, I have to remind her of who I am, not just once or twice. Maybe three or four times. That’s okay, because maybe she won’t remember my unspoken words, or even my spoken words. Maybe she won’t remember what I did, or even what I didn’t do. That’s okay. I hope.
She tried and did her best. She succeeded here and there, failed here and there. We all do. All do. She did the best she could with what she had. We all do. All do.
One of these days, Judy, who has now assumed the role of family matriarch will call. Maybe it will be one of my sisters, a brother-in-law. More than likely, Mom. Mom, who will start our family all over again. With Dad, with Donna, with Joanne, with Jackie and Sue and Jim. One of these days, but not now. Not now. Not yet.
Don’t know quite how this will end. Don’t quite know where I want to go with this. Perhaps that’s as it should be. How it’s meant to be. Mom. My Mom. Your Mom. For Better or Worse. For Right or Wrong. And I, we, should be so lucky. Something to think about . . .
Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!