Sunday, May 9, 2010

a lucky guy….

The woman on the right with the lemon coming out of her ear is my mother.  Besides making lemons come out of her ear, she can do other neat tricks.

This is one of my favorite pictures of my Mom and Dad.  They’ve been a team for 63 years.  This picture shows Dad as the protector, the provider with Mom as the support person, always there.  I can’t imagine this picture being any different.

But, this is about Mom, and what she means to me.  First of all, I think Mom and I are very similar people.  We both like to measure what’s going on.  We both want to see the best in others.  She’s very forgiving, and I hope I am, too.

She raised six different kids with six very different personalities.  She always found time.  How she did that, I’ll never be able to figure out.

One time she was asked, “Aren’t you sorry you had six kids?”  She replied, “Which one would you kill?”  Although, I’m sure there were times when she knew which one.

Mom was part warden, part teacher, part supervisor, all-the-time cook, scrimper of highest caliber, always giving all she could and then a little more.

Punishment for some crime against a sibling usually resulted in dishes, for a day, week, or month.  I washed a lot of dishes. 

Each day in the summer, she made a list of work for each of the kids to do, at least two hours per day, no exceptions.   And, she would be coming out to check the work, so no shortcuts were allowed.  If you couldn’t work, you couldn’t make it in this family. 

As a child, I didn’t realize her impact until she was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis at 51.  I was 16.   I’d never heard of such a thing.  But, she cried when she heard about it.  I’d never seen her do that, and it made me want to find out what this thing was and how to beat it back.

I read and read until I couldn’t anymore.  I’m sure the message the doctor conveyed was every bit as powerful as what I read: crippling, devastating, life changing, wheel chairs and PAIN.

But, as quick as the message came, the disease went away.  Miracle?  I didn’t care.  I just didn’t want her to feel the pain.  It served as a wake-up call to me how much she meant to me.

Over the years, Mom has always been there.  Now 86, she seems decades younger.  The other day, as I was driving to their house, she was outside burning egg cartons next to a brush pile, baseball cap on, next to her trusty Mule utility vehicle, flames going everywhere.

She still sends me home with food and cookies.  I don’t know how many times she’s said, “Why don’t you take some home?”  And, I usually do.  

One day, I hope to be able to make a cookie that will stand up to hers and say the same.

But, on this day, it’s just Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.  I love you.