Where Would We Be Without Moms?
By Jeff Salter
Well, the obvious answer is: without moms … we wouldn’t even exist!
Yeah, not only did they give us birth, but – in most cases – moms spent the next 18 years or so raising us and helping prepare us for “the world”. [Of course, the world wasn’t always prepared for US … but that’s a different story.]
When I was a kid, I was way too self-absorbed to realize how much my Mom had to sacrifice in order to provide for us and always “be there” for us. When I was a young parent with small children, I was too distracted with my career to notice how much my Wife sacrificed (and how hard she worked) … for the benefit of our kids. But now that I’m a grandfather (and three of our six grandkids live very near), I get a very close look at this process. And I’m so proud of the wonderful, sacrificial job my Daughter does with her kids. And even though my Daughter-in-law is over 800 miles away (so we see them much less often), I know she does a terrific job with my other three grand-children.
My maternal great-grandmother lived to be a few months past 100 years old. She resided two states away and I only remember meeting her a few times. Don’t recall any actual one-on-one ‘experiences’ with her.
My paternal grandmother (who died about 39 years ago) was bedridden for most of the time I remember her. But even though she was frail or ill — when we’d visit as young kids, we’d hop up in her bed and she’d tell us captivating stories.
My maternal grandmother lived in the same town as we did for several years, so she’s the older matriarch I got to know the best. She was quite a character. Had a lot of idiosyncrasies, but she loved us and always did her best. She died nearly 36 years ago.
I’ve always been grateful that my own kids had THREE active, healthy grandmothers who loved them and spent time with them: my mom, my mom-in-law, and my step-mom. For several years, they even had two great-grandmothers (my wife’s side of the family).
For a look at my thoughts, last year at this time, about Mothers – including Moms as characters in our novels – please check out this link. https://fourfoxesonehound.wordpress.com/2011/05/05/two-different-looks-at-mothers/
That column also features a Mother’s Day poem I wrote for my Mom about 41 years ago.
This Sunday, if weather allows, we’ll be in the upper meadow for a Mom’s Day picnic. No, I don’t plan to cook. It’ll probably be something I purchase that’s already made. But, hey, it’s the thought that counts … right?
Whether you’re a Mom, Grandmother, Mother-in-Law, or Step-Mom – or what the greeting card people call “other Mother” – please accept my heartfelt appreciation. Take your shoes off, put your feet up, and relax. Enjoy this special Sunday. Because Monday morning, it’s BACK TO WORK!
If your mom is still living, what are your plans for her on Mother’s Day?
If you’re the senior Mom in your family, what are the folks planning for YOU?
I LOOOOOOVE MY MUM ….. nuff said. And I miss her very much.
Great post, Jeff.
Yes, I can imagine that Mother’s Day is very difficult for those who rarely get to visit with their moms … and especially those who have lost their moms. It’s been very hard on my wife since her mom passed away in mid-2010.
Thanks for visiting again, Iris, from way down under.
Thanks so much for the tribute to moms, Jeff!
My guys, five of them, have rented a local bowling alley. They have pizza and drinks coming:)) FUN family day!
Rented a bowling alley!
Gosh, Tonya, your family really goes all out. I take it that all five guys are inviting friends (& their moms) also.
Yep, bought for for the picnic is just as good as home cooked and easier aince the time spent cooking can be better spent hanging with loved ones. I’m glad you got to know your great grandparents some. Since my parents married young and had kids young, and we have longevity in our family, I knew 4 sets of greats. Two quite well. It was super.
Wow, Jillian, that IS a blessing. And I take it they must have lived near enough for y’all to visit often.
Of the two “greats” whom my kids had experiences with (both on my wife’s side), one lived quite far away and died about 10 yrs before the other. So, naturally, they had many more memories of the one who was nearer and lived longer.
I didn’t mention in my column (because it was too wordy) that my maternal grandmother actually did get to interact with our son, though he was about 4 when she died. And our daughter was just a toddler at that point … I can’t remember if Julie even met my grandmother (in a nursing home by that time) in those few months.
They didn’t live close for many years (they in Alabama, we in Virginia, Texas and Calif) but we visited a lot. For a couple of weeks at a time a couple of times a year- then we moved to Florida when I was in middle school and were only 7 hours away and went for long weekends, Def. a blessing.
The great-grandmother whom my kids got to know very well — lived, for sev. years in Dallas, which was just about 4 hrs. from Shreveport. Before we moved to S’port, that trip was more like 8 hrs.
But the other great-grandmother lived in KY — where we are now — and that was a 12 hr. drive from Shreveport.
My mom is amazing. She did a wonderful job raising me (as if THAT were easy). But these last few years there has been some family drama that has been tough on her physically and mentally. It breaks my heart to see this woman once strong and vibrant weaken and lose some light and struggle with humor. I’m hoping some change will bring some of her back.
She doesn’t celebrate Mother’s day and requests that we respect her wishes. But I plan to take her to a big community garage sale this weekend. She’ll like that. And whenever she finally decides on what kind of e-reader she’s going to buy, I’m going to load her up with books! 🙂
So, Jenn, raising you was challenging? Hmm.
Very sorry to learn that your mom’s spirit has been somewhat dimmed by family struggles. What a shame that some family members misbehave and don’t seem to care who it hurts.
Puzzling that your mom doesn’t want any special attention for Mom’s Day. I know some ladies who really groove on such extra notice.
Rather than traveling this year, we’ll be expressing our gratitude via phone. Luckily, there’s a grandbaby with a first birthday to celebrate on Saturday–and he lives in the same tiny village as my in-laws. My mother-in-law will feel fulfilled without us! I personally like to keep it low key. And please, no pre-written, mass-produced sentimentality.
LOL, Chris. So you don’t care for greeting cards?
I think I understand you point, of course: if the card is the only expression of affection or attention, then it allows the ‘giver’ to “chalk-off” another holiday with minimal effort and (possibly) little actual emotional investment.
But if the pre-written, mass-produced sentimentality is merely part of the effort … I think it’s okay. You think?
It’s all about the thought–and any thought is appreciated.
Good post, Jeff! My mom is coming up for a week-long visit to celebrate Mom’s Day and do some other things too, so it will be a good time to see her and catch up. I just need to wrap her gift before she arrives!
Thanks for visiting, Elaine.
Yes, hurry and wrap that gift!
Is your mom the kind of person who will shake a package … or squeeze it, trying to guess what’s inside? If so, then be sure to mask its shape and content as your wrap.
Still a bit too cold up Nawth for a picnic, but my daughter and I spend the day together. After 24 years, I still miss Mom — I used to talk to her every day or visit. You can never get enough “Mom-Time” in your life!! 🙂
Meg, it’s rather coolish down here in Ky today also. After a few weeks of warm weather, today it’s below 70 … with a cool breeze. Bright sunshine. Lovely. Hope that holds for Sunday!
I am so very grateful I am NOT the matriarch in the family. My mother is 87 years of age and has been someone we’ve looked up to our entire lives. She’s amazing. We’ll be having mimosas at my brother and sister-in-law’s house. Yes, I’ll be doing some cooking, but it’s worth it. 🙂
Mimosas sound great, Laurie. I hope you will be also RECEIVING some attention & kindnesses!
I wish I was with my Mom this Sunday, but she is being showered with attention on the other side of the country from me. Here’s to all of the Mom’s!!
Glad you could visit today, Anne. I know it must be tough to be across the country from your mom. Hope you both have a great day.
My husband and I, of course, live with our only child Autumn and our two grand kids. Needless to say we are very hands on grandparents. I am the youngest in my family with a 17 year age difference between myself and my oldest sibling. My parents were 45 (father) and 40 (mom) when I was born which meant that my grandmothers were old when I came along. I never knew my grandfathers as both had died. My paternal grandfather died before my mom met my dad. My major memories of my paternal grandmother was that she was bedridden due to a broken hip that didn’t mend well. My maternal grandmother who died when I was 8 was rather a no nonsense person who wasn’t very much fun to be around. She didn’t particularly like to be around me either, I think, as she felt like I was a lot of trouble the few times that I stayed with her. My daddy’s oldest sister and her husband really took on the role of being grandparents to me and many others in the family. My mom very much put us first and sacrificed a lot so that we could have things. I remember her picking up pecans and selling them so that I could have a senior ring in high school. My mom has been gone for 24 years now and I still miss her. So many things that I wished that I had asked her or told her.
Thanks for sharing, Sug.
I didn’t get to meet either of my grand-FATHERS either. My dad’s father died a month before my dad was born and my mom’s father died about 3 months before I was born. [My older brother was the only sibling who got to meet Grandfather Willie … and Charles was 3 yrs old and younger during those few encounters.]
Mine will be gone for 10 years next month, so hard to believe; my mother-in-law has been gone for about 7 now. I won’t be expecting more than cards again this year, but I have my sons and grandkids here in town again, and I see everyone nearly daily.I do a lot for them and they know it; they reciprocate, (Ok, not as much).We may fuss, but we are close and that is all that matters.
It wouldn’t be a real family if there weren’t occasional slights of some kind.
Glad they’re close and everybody gets along.
I have a wonderful mom! I appreciate her so much more now than I did growing up. She has always been there for me when I needed her. She is also a wonderful Mimi!!!
Being “Mimi” has been her favorite activity so far, I believe.
Unfortunately, since my mother still lives in Michigan, and I’m in Australia, Mother’s Day celebrations will only consist of a phone call; probably tomorrow morning (Saturday, which will be Friday evening there.)
When I was young, my grandmother AND my great-grandmother lived with us, until my great-grandmother died when I was 10. My grandmother was still fairly young at the time, and still working, but continued to live with my mom until she died at the age of 90. (I always used to tease my mom that she never left home.)
My mother was/is a geriatric nurse (she doesn’t work anymore, of course, being 78 years old herself, but still keeps her license active) so she was able to look after several family members at home instead of them having to go into nursing homes. My great-grandmother died at home, my dad died of cancer at home, my grandmother’s oldest sister moved into our house when she could no longer live on her own, (I was in the Air Force by then) and she also died in our home, as did my grandmother, although my mother had remarried and moved by then.
Unfortunately, my mom’s husband died in the hospital, as there were some medical emergencies that she was unable to handle on her own. His sons credited her with keeping him alive for longer than they expected him to last, though, since he had a lot of serious health issues. With her medical training, she was able to detect problems early and get him the treatment he needed.
As you can see, I have a VERY special mom, who has spent her entire life caring for others, not just us kids. I miss her, and it makes me sad that I will probably never see her again, due to the fact that plane tickets cost a lot more money than I’m likely to see at one time again unless I win the Lottery. (Fat chance of THAT happening, since I don’t play.) My one wish is that I could be more like her.
Thanks for sharing, Jeanne. Your mom indeed sounds awesome … sincerely.
And it’s difficult for me to imagine how loving she must be to have been care-giver to so many in her family. Wow.
BTW, I was in the Air Force also: 1/71 to 5/74 on Active duty. Cannon AFB NM in Tac. Air Comm. — Thule AB Greenland in Aerospace Def. Comm — and McClellan AFB CA in A.F. Logistics Comm. I understand most of those commands have changed names since my day.
Also served in the AF Reserve … with the 920th Weather Reconnaissance Group — which, among other things, measured hurricanes.
TAC and SAC have now merged to become Combat Air Command with headquarters at Langley AFB, Hampton, VA. (I was stationed there from 6/87-1/92 when it was still HQ TAC). Offutt, which used to be HQ SAC in NE has either been closed or is now a reserve base; not sure which. Not sure about the rest of the commands, either. And my husband and I were married by the pastor of one of my old churches in Texas, who now pastors a church in Clovis, NM, so that’s where we were married. Cannon is still there, and I think they’re still flying F-16s.
Wow. Small world. When I was at Cannon, Mar 71 to about Aug 72, we had the brand new F-111. Plus a squadron of F-100 and I believe another fighter. Plus, of course, some cargo aircraft, though I don’t recall which ones. My favorite plane at that time was the F-4 Phantom, which the Thunderbirds flew during those years.
I never could figure out why they called the F-4 “Phantoms,” as those things were LOUD! During exercises in Germany, the F-4s were always the enemy, and the F-16’s were our side. In Germany, they had noise laws, which meant no flying after 10pm. Unfortunately, I usually worked night shift during exercises, so planes were flying over my head all day long while I was trying to sleep. Add to that that fact that my barracks was right across the street from the flightline… (I used to love watching planes taking off and landing, but not after I’d been up all night!)
I used to be able to identify several different types of aircraft just by the sound of the engines; both fighters and bombers, which meant I could be sitting inside a building and tell what type of plane was flying overhead…military ones, anyway. A commercial jet was just non-military plane. LOL
And btw, you wanna talk about a REALLY small world? When I was living in Houston, I took a single class at a small community college once, and found out one of the girls in my class graduated high school the year before I did (nearly 20 years earlier) from the SAME high school…in Michigan.
I never worked that close to the flightline and — except for Basic Training & a few TDYs — never slept on base. [Well, that doesn’t count the year in Thule, of course, but Thule only had a few choppers and a weekly commercial carrier from McGuire AFB NJ. Hmm. plus a commercial carrier from Denmark which may have been more than weekly. Gosh, come to think of it, I should’ve heard a lot more of that aircraft activity. But the buildings were well insulated and the flightline was several ‘blocks’ away.]
Ha. Anyhow, my point was that I learned more about aircraft AFTER I left active duty than when I served. I worked in the Information Office, which put out the base newspaper (among other things like P.R.), and occasionally took photos. Once, I got a face-full of exhaust from the engine of a F-100 which was making its turn on the flightline before revving for take-off. Yuck!
Also while taking photos, I got to walk into a C-5 cargo plane, which (at that time — 40 yrs ago) was the largest aircraft in the world.
During Desert Storm, I spent two weeks away from my regular job to help load cargo planes, including C-5’s. They were still the largest aircraft in the world at that time, too. It never ceased to amaze me how those things could even get off the ground! It was weird how the nose flipped up and the back opened up, so you had this big tunnel-like space that was open at both ends.
We even loaded a UPS plane at one time with duffel bags, and we had a Kuwait Airlines 747 sitting on our tarmac for several weeks. We also shared our flightline with a NASA facility next door.
Oh, and I forgot to mention that when I was watching the planes taking off and landing in Germany, I was doing so from my bedroom window! (As opposed to my room being on the other side of the building.)