On Mothers’ Day, I’m remembering how exciting it was as a child to celebrate my special Mom.
You were always my heroine, so pretty, chic and very clever. You taught me so much from a very young age. My love of music was nurtured because of your encouragement, and even though you had never learned to play an instrument, you were determined to give me the chance even though the cost of piano lessons was quite a sacrifice on your tight budget. You worked so hard at many menial jobs in order to supplement the family income, and yet still found the time to make my sister and I the most gorgeous clothes, often sitting at your sewing machine late into the night. I’ll never forget the Sunday School Anniversary dresses you sewed, especially the blue flocked one with the enormous navy bow at the back, which made it very difficult for us to sit down. Your daughters always had to be the smartest on the block, and I guess that’s why you insisted on the hats as the finishing touch. How we loathed wearing those feather hats, and also the ones that looked like a couple of beige blancmanges, but I’ve long since forgiven you. You were very brave in the hat-stakes yourself, and I remember that you were mortified, when at church one Sunday, our oldest member called out very loudly, “Vera, I like your new hat, but that feather makes you look just like Robin Hood.”
There always seemed to be just enough money to take us on a seaside holiday once a year, but only because of your thriftiness. Nothing was wasted in our house, and you somehow found the time to make all your own jams and pickles with fruit and vegetables harvested from dad’s garden. Coming home from school on cold winter days in England, I knew that there would always be a good fire going in the hearth, and toast or muffins with homemade strawberry jam to warm me up. You cajoled me into eating my vegetables, even brussel sprouts, with the promise that they were going to make my hair curl. I forgive you for that little white lie, but only because you made the best apple pies in the world.
I have so many wonderful memories of you. It was so heartbreaking to see you the way your health declined during the last two years of your life. You became so fragile and could no longer manage to stand on your own. When I took you for a walk in the garden in your wheelchair, I thought of how you used to push me in my stroller all those years ago. Our roles had somehow been reversed. You were always so dignified and independent; so strong and upright, and I longed for you to be like that once again, but as you said to me, “I just have to be content with the way things are now.” I know you wanted to tell me all sorts of things, and yet your mind just couldn’t process your thoughts and turn them into words. How frustrating this must have been for you. As we sat there trying to hold a conversation, I was really moved when Mrs. G, the lady in the chair next to you, rousing a little from her slumbers, reached her hand over the arm of the chair until it found yours. She didn’t even open her eyes but grasped your hand so tightly, and as you stroked her fingers I saw a glimmer of a smile on her face, probably remembering a time in the past when she had someone’s hand to hold, maybe a husband or even a child. She never had visitors, but I’m sure that your cool touch that day brought comfort to her heart and she felt loved, just as it used to for me when I was a child.
Mom thank you for everything you did for me. You are loved so much and will always be in my heart.
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