I have pictures of my mother that I cherish . . . like the ones above. My mother died several years ago and I miss her. I miss her for a lot of reasons, but most of all I miss her for her sense of humor, the way that she made me laugh, and her ability to make sense out of all the chaos of life. The pictures I have of my mother are reminders of a different time and place, different situations, and often a contradiction to the reality of life as she got to experience. Often the reality between the picture and life were two different things.
I think that my mother lived a tough life. She had four children in basically four years--two of which were born with disabilities. It is tough enough to raise one child, but to raise four in a row born in four years--it is a nightmare! Add to that the disability factor . . . and, well, I am amazed that she survived at all. Yet, she did it. She did it with grace and lots of love. There is no denying that my mother loved each and everyone of her children--she sacrificed herself for her children. As an adult I look back and am totally amazed that she came out as well as she did. Parenthood is tough and they ought to give medals to those who survive it. But Mom was one tough cookie.
Yeah, she was one tough cookie . . . she put up with a lot. She had children who needed her constant care. She had a tough marriage. And, she did not find a lot of support within her own family. Her life was tough as she was raised by her grandmother and uncles while her mother went off and started a new family. There was no was animosity over that, just a curious wondering about why her mother basically abandoned her. She survived and even thrived--at least that is the image of her I get from her old high school yearbooks. Then she met her Prince Charming, got married, and started her own family. As a military bride that fairytale ending was quite like it is in the movies. The government moved them around quite a bit, yet they continued to make the best of it. My mother did whatever she had to do to keep the family going. She always did--in the good years and in the lean years. For that I will always be grateful. She saved my life with her constant presence and love.
Today we celebrated Mother's Day. The wife was honored by the presence of 75% of our children at our house. Our oldest was unable to attend from his home in Fort Collins, but he did call to wish his mother a "Happy Mother's Day." The kids prepared most of the meal--I got to offer the burnt sacrifice on the grill--and really did a lot to make it a special day. After the kids had done their celebrating with their mother, the wife called her mother back in Kentucky to wish her a "Happy Mother's Day." It was a lot of fun--lots of laughter--just a great time of fellowship with loved ones. Even though it was not on the scale of a major event, it was exactly what the wife wanted. It was a blessing . . . but it made me melancholy . . . made me realize how much I missed my own mother in my life.
My mother is a big part of who I am. I have her sense of humor--also sprinkled in there is a huge portion of my father's humor--but it is mainly her sense of humor. I miss her laughter at the absurdity of life at times and her down home understanding of the world. From eighth grade onward I ran track. As long as the race was shorter than a quarter mile my mother understood it. Of course, I ran races from the quarter mile upward--in particular I ran the half-mile. My freshman year I ran the half-mile at the Colorado Springs Freshman/Sophomore championships and it was one of the few races that she had the time to come and watch. After the race I was dead tired--exhausted and laying in the middle of the field dying--and she came up to me and said, "I don't understand the purpose of the race. After one lap around the track you've seen it all--why run a second lap?" You couldn't help but to laugh--she had a point and I never forgot it.
I miss my mother. On this Mother's Day we all come to realize that we cannot forget our mothers. We cannot forget them whether they were good or bad or indifferent. Our mothers are a major part of our lives and they helped shape us into the people we are today. There are moments in my life when I hear my mother in my voice . . . at times it is frightening, and other times reassuring. We can never get away from the love and grace of our mothers. They are always with us. Because of this we cannot help but to pause, miss them, and say a prayer for their presence in our lives.
On this Mother's Day may you embrace the presence of your mother in your life. May it be filled with the warmth and love that only memories can bring. May it bring a smile to your face. Happy Mother's Day to all of you who have touched the lives of someone you called son or daughter. Happy Mother's Day!!
Happy Mother's Day Mommy!
Rebecca Ann (Ireland) Keener