Yesterday was Mother’s Day. I want to talk about my Mom, Velma Augusta, today. As most of you already know my Mom is 94. It becomes more and more possible with each passing year that we won’t have her with us the next time Mother’s Day rolls around. My Mom lived a very hard life, as many of our parents did if they lived through the Great Depression and World War II. Mom lived her early years in fairly extreme poverty and in those years there was almost no safety net. Her father was given a job in the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) and each day he would set out to walk the almost ten miles he had to walk to arrive at the job site. Sometimes he took his daughter (my Mom) with him and in fact these two logged a lot of shoe leather miles together (probably in very run-down shoes). Mom hated the dress she had to wear to her high school graduation, but she did graduate, which many who lived in poverty in those difficult days did not. Once she graduated she got a job in an office and her life got a bit easier for a while. She met my father, who knew how to keep a jalopy running, and she met his friends and they had fun doing very cheap things, like picnics and singing around pianos and just all talking and laughing together.
After Dad and Mom married the war took precedence over a family for two years. Once they got started they quickly produced eight offspring. My mother’s life got hard again. She toiled all day long, morning to night and it seemed that very little was accomplished because there were so many things to do. She did everything with a baby on her shoulder or on her hip, depending on whether the baby was asleep or awake. A couple of toddlers often clung to her skirts. It was not all as awful as it sounds. Mom was doing what she wanted to do, raising a family with my father. She was not a strict keep-your-clothing-clean kind of mom. We could catch bugs, play with mud, bring home tadpoles to observe and fireflies to light our bedrooms. We could ruin all Dad’s hammers which we used to open up rocks and then did not return to his workshop. We could flood the backyard and turn it into a skating rink and when we “ran away from home” Mom packed us a lunch.
So when we all come to our childhood home, where Mom still lives with one of my sisters, we are happy to enjoy Mom’s company for one more Mother’s Day and to shower her with gifts (not diamonds, although we wish we could and although mom is not one to wear diamonds), and hear her tell us how spoiled she is and how she doesn’t deserve all of this love and attention, which, of course, is exactly what she does deserve. This year my brother and sister-in-law gave her a Kindle. I can’t wait to see if she likes it. Mom, you have to be here next Mother’s Day; you still have two unmarried granddaughters who both want you to be there for their weddings. Velma occasionally asks, “why am I still here?”, but most days she does the things she enjoys and obsesses over whether her dainty little rescue cat is eating enough and bemoans the fact that she has not done any housework, which I think is a good thing and which she continues to drown in guilt about. We are so lucky to still have our Mom to enjoy.