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Column: Happy Mother's Day

Sunday is Mother's Day and I think of my mother. Growing up, little things that both comforted and irritated her in our daily routines have now become automatic in my life. I recall her short frame swiftly moving from task to task with few of our modern conveniences. When we came from school, she would ask how our day went as she handed us a glass of milk and a donut. We didn't answer "OK," but rather sat down and relieved the day, either good or bad.

She never interrupted but let us ramble on as she prepared dinner. Homework was done at the big kitchen table. If we were stumped she would ask questions, limited by her education, until we had the answers. She created in us a desire to read and write that put us in an arena we treasure today.

As the oldest of four girls, I started that female adolescent roller coaster filled with up-and-down emotions. She told us she was happy to have four girls because, "A son was a son until he took a wife, but a daughter was a daughter till the end of your life."

I don't know how she put up with those years when we knew all the answers, our parents were old fashioned or all our friends were doing it. She always let us fret silently while she hummed or sang a hymn to herself at the counter. It was if she was giving herself renewed strength to deal with the problem. We never understood how she could be so happy when we were angry. It was after the storm passed that she asked questions.

These thoughts raced through my mind the day mother passed away. There wasn't much we could do for her in the hospital except squeeze her hand, smooth her hair, dab her lips with moisture and quietly reassure her we loved her. The role was reversed. We now comforted her and wiped the tears on her face. We would return the love in a few hours she had patiently given us over the years. She always told us there was no manual or book for the perfect mother because every child had different needs. We knew the circle would be broken shortly. We giving her what she had given us.

It was impossible to loose her without sorrow and an emptiness. We would remember things she taught us to pass to our children. She talked to each of us, then dad, telling us all she loved us and would see us in the springtime.

With that she closed her eyes and slept her last hours away in peace. There were questions we wanted to ask, things we had yet to say, but the circle was complete.

This Sunday I'll wear the white carnation in her memory not because I grieve she died but rather to thank God that she lived. All the hymns she sang from memory over the years were merely practice for the choir of angels I know she's singing in today. As I encounter her world I know my my life is enriched because she lived.

Happy Mother's Day