I’m not terribly worried about losing my memory, since it seems I don’t have much to begin with. I really do not remember a lot of details about my childhood. I have some memories of specific events but if you ask me about growing up in general, I just don’t remember much about what it was like. So on this Mother’s Day, as I listen to everyone talk about how great their mom was, and what a great influence she was to their lives, I know that those things are true about my mother, but I just don’t remember the details.
I do remember a few specific things and I do know that my life has been blessed by growing up in her house, under her influence. I’m just not sure I can tell you exactly how.
Mother was a terrific cook. She taught me some basic kitchen skills, and shared some of her best recipes (some of them I still have, in her handwriting). Some of those recipes might be hard to follow (“bake at 350 until done” – but when is “done”?), but they are still stained with kitchen spills and my kids still love her meatloaf and fried potatoes (actually, those would be Aunt Grace’s potatoes, but still). I love to cook and I love being in the kitchen. I’m sure that without her help, that would not be part of my life.
When I was around six years old, two of my cousins came to live with us. I have zero recollection of the details of how that got started (I’ve heard the story, but don’t have any original memory of it). I do remember some of the following six years while they lived with us, and I now know that taking those kids in had to be a huge sacrifice for my parents. But I do not recall ever hearing my mom complain about the extra work, the cramped living space, the drain on our budget, or any other hardship I’m sure she endured. All I know is she poured out her heart to all the kids living in her house, and a bunch of kids who didn’t live there, too. Even with two cousins and a sister in the house, I never, ever felt like she was holding back on anything she could give to any of us. We were all fully blessed with all of her love.
Mom had a way of making me reach my potential. When I went to college, she told me if I didn’t make a 3.0 grade point average, I wasn’t going back (my high school GPA was only 2.5). That one semester when I dipped below 3.0, I was terrified she would yank me out of school, but she gave me one more semester to bring it up. Later, she told me it was all a bluff because she knew I could do it, and I needed the incentive.
Oh, and besides us kids, she also loved her strawberries. Both as food and as decoration. Now that I live “just down the road” from the strawberry capital of America, I sure wish I could share some of those fresh berries with her.
Happy Mother’s Day Mom. Even if I don’t remember the details, thanks for your love and influence on my life.