Once upon a time, I had wild job resume that spanned from vitamin saleswoman, restaurant waitress, grocery clerk, office secretary, pioneer woman and fashionable mother with purse and dollies. Let's consider vitamin lady, for example, an occupation I started with the help of my cousins. We’d load our backpacks with empty vitamin bottles our mothers gave us and then travel around town (or the living room) to meet with clients and advise them on which supplements they should buy to solve their ailments. An unusual childhood invention, I know, and telling of the days when our parents were discovering the alternative health field. I'll admit I did eat some of that paper that we stuffed in the bottles as pretend vitamins. I never died yet from the ink. And I learned that while good things come in a bottle, our mothers were sacrificing and giving us so much in those days to feed our hungry little bodies, imaginations and souls.
Today I am grateful for my upbringing and my mother’s mothering. The older I get, the more I live by her wisdom and am blessed by it. So here’s an ode to her, and to all like her, who have mothered or (fathered) us through to who we are today.
Without cable or video games at our house, before the days of laptops and technological devices of all shapes and sizes, we spent the hours playing, pretending and helping around the house, where I first learned creative thinking, team work and innovation. Skills I still use today. We had a quiet home, one where the silences were not muffled by television or attention-diverting devices but one in which we felt comfortable being with one another in the silence. Here ideas flowed. And we were present to one another.
Not being given all the toys I wanted but just enough inspired me to experiment in making my own versions of them with household items like cardboard, recycling things into other things, cutting out food pictures from magazines for playing restaurant or grocery store. Truly, the lessons have paid off, as this showed me into adulthood that I could dream, create and live the life I imagined, and be happy, even with little resources.
You took me to church. You showed me a way of holiness at home, too, through prayer and example. Your longing for God overflowed and touched me and drew me into the heart of the Lover that Jesus is, as you sought Him with your womanly heart.
You raised me up with beautiful music, introduced me to classical works and different composers, and signed me up for piano lessons. You encouraged my musical development and praised every song I played on the piano. Then you encouraged me to take ballroom dancing lessons and express music with my very being! And these things still lift me up today, giving me joy.
Like magic, you knew how to cure my ailments with natural remedies but also with a healing touch of your hand, a prayer said over me, a soft lullaby like “Tell Me Why the Stars Do Shine,” a bedtime story read from just the dim light of the hallway, and the sign of the cross on my forehead as you wished me a “Goodnight.”
There’s so much more, but this is just to say, “Thanks, Mom,” for all you've done and continue to do for your children.
To ponder, what positive memories do you have of your upbringing?