A defining moment came in the third grade. My even-organized-at-a-young-age self was horrified to discover I had left my lunch on the kitchen counter. My teacher was kind; I walked the embarrassing mile to the school office where I was allowed to call home. In less than five minutes, my mom magically appeared, lunch in hand and smile on face. I will never forget the wave of thankfulness which was far greater than in having a full belly; it was in having a mom who was always there.
Duh. She was present at all my big moments, as most mothers are. She watched proudly when I danced as a rose "butt" (bud) on the Robinson Auditorium stage. She was first grade "room mom" and Brownie leader. She cheered loudly at every softball game. At my horse shows, my football pom performances, my track meets, she was always in attendance. When college arrived, she was at my sorority bid day and initiation which she had worked tirelessly to help me achieve.
In an effort to report the facts correctly, I have this addendum : When I was on the Bozo Big Top TV Show, which was already a disaster because Bozo was grumpy, ran out of Oscar Meyer hot dogs and did not have the Frosty's Root Beer which he was holding up as the official drink of the Big Top Show, my mom took a crazy moment for herself and was at the horse races in Hot Springs. There was no recording of the show. It was a one-time event. My mom missed my TV debut... but, for that, I forgive her.
This memory is vivid because she never missed anything else.
She taught me how to ride a bike, roller-skate, high jump, throw a softball, jump off my house's roof without breaking a leg, and climb a tree. (My dad was forced to send me to "charm school" to bring balance to my young life.) In our house, no one could throw up in the middle of the night without my mom magically appearing, cold wash rag in hand. Most mothers make the big events.
My mother was special because she was always there in the daily stuff.
Even three and one half hours away, she was always there.
During the newly- married years she was my hot line for cooking advice. She learned how to pull a U-Haul trailer behind her car so she could bring me extra furniture. She willingly volunteered to nurse Jeff through a very bad case of adult chicken pox because I had to work and could not. (Although she had to recant in her second phone call upon realizing she had never contracted the disease. How she had made it through three cases of her children having had the disease is unknown.)
Even at five hours away, she was always there.
Through our many moves as married adults, my mom was available to help or not to help as needed. She could pack and unpack a kitchen like nobody else. Just say "we are moving" and my mom would start collecting boxes and deliver them to us. She knew all the best place to find them.
I could not have made it through my early years of parenting without my mom. She would often drop by and begin folding my huge pile of clean clothes. She was always available to babysit. Oh how my boys loved (still love) their "Dee".
Always there: not in a helicopter- hovering sort of way, not in an enabling- bad -behavior sort of way, not in meddling- in -my affairs sort of way. In junior high, within 10 minutes, my mom was screeching up to the country club pro shop, wet hair dripping down the smock of the beauty shop where she had been when she had received the golf pro's call that " Your daughter was hit in the head with a 7-iron" during junior golf clinic. Or, the week before our wedding when we were driving her car and a huge beer truck ran a light nearly killing us, totaling her car, but she was on the scene in less than 5 minutes with only concern for our well-being and none for her car.
These events were pre-cell phone days, I tell ya the woman has skills!
|All the Grandkids...Missing Conly|
My mother devoted her entire life to her family. I promise I have never heard her whine or complain about all the work she did for us. Every meal, every sack lunch, every birthday and holiday. Available 24/7. There has never been one ounce of doubt that if I called my mom to bring my lunch or to drive seven hours to our Alabama house that she would drop her life and...
always be there.
My mom is 85 and has never worked a single day of her life for a job which would give her a paycheck. But for the job she did raising me and beyond...
For always being there.
No paycheck could ever compensate her sacrifice and devotion.