I grew up well. When I say that, I just knew how fortunate I was in comparison to other people. I had two intelligent parents, a large home, and never really needed anything. Don’t confuse that with being spoiled because I’m sure all of my sisters would agree with me that we weren’t spoiled. We were taken care of properly, but nothing was overdone or over excessive. I believe that was a good thing because it taught us the difference between needs and wants.
I was born with an extremely independent spirit. I know I was the one to challenge my parents. Most who grew up with me knew I was never a bad kid, but I was the one who challenged the rules and regulations and gave reasons as to why I thought certain rules were ridiculous and questioned beliefs. The earliest I recall this starting was around the age of three when I decided naps were ridiculous. This attitude developed further into adolescence when my father gave me a curfew much earlier than all of my friends and told me, “Nothing good can happen after midnight.” My reply to this was, “Anything I can do after midnight, I can do before midnight.” He finally gave up on me with this.
I can’t help who I am, but thank my sisters for making it easier on my parents. Then again, maybe my older sister and I broke them in a bit before the younger ones hit adolescence. It’s good to have older siblings pave the way a bit. Really, they were “parents in training” with us, so, of course, the third and fourth child can’t come up with anything that we didn’t do already.
My mother with her four daughters.
My mother was never a “helicopter” mom. She let us make our own decisions and mistakes. I don’t know how she ever prevented herself from interfering, but she did. She was supportive when she needed to be and didn’t tell us what to do or how to do it. If we fell somehow, she would quietly suggest how we might have changed things, but never flat out told us that she didn’t like someone, didn’t want us to be friends with a person, or didn’t want us to date a person. She didn’t even bring up the topic unless we brought the topic to her.
Sometimes, people mistook her demeanor as someone who could be walked on, but she was a force to be reckoned with were they to cross her path. She always stood her ground, and did it in the most polite way that she wasn’t offensive. To those who ever experienced this side of her, I can guarantee it was well deserved.
Although I stated we weren’t spoiled, we WERE spoiled in other ways. I didn’t realize until talking with other people later in life how much better we had it than the majority. For instance, I went to school with a packed lunch daily. The four food groups were included in that lunch. Dinner was on the table by 6 pm. Every morning, it seemed there was something different for breakfast. As I write this, I’m kind of missing waking up to the smell of someone else cooking.
My mother made clothes for us. The 80’s were so much fun as a teen. We would go to the fabric store and pick out these wild fabrics. No one knew my mother made so many of my clothes. I detested clothes shopping so much, that it was easier for me to come home and see a new pair of shorts or a shirt waiting…and they always fit me perfectly.
She did all of these things for four daughters. On top of it all, she was extremely supportive of my father and his goals. She hosted weekly prayer meetings at our house and supplied food for the potluck that would ensue every week. Whatever goals and dreams he had, she would back him up and be the one working behind the scenes.
There was a joint effort going on within the household with my mother being the backbone of four daughters and a non-stop household. When people needed a place to stay to get on their feet, she supported the decision for them to move in and took on whatever work came along with it. And, I never heard her complain. I never heard her talk about how she gave up her career or her life for us. I never heard her talk about herself and everything she lost out on because of us. I don’t know the mother that was all about what she wanted because I didn’t live with that mom. To this day, I can honestly say that I don’t even know what her dreams were in life because I think that she may have lived it. She was happy with being a mom.
After having four daughters of my own, I realize how much went into it all. There’s a difference in the amounts of laundry, food preparation, cleaning, taking care of school business, and trying to make sure that each child knows that she’s important to you. I’m not the same mother my mom was – I raise my voice. I tell my daughters when I don’t like a boy they’re dating (I’m always right on this, by the way). I get aggravated when they make mistakes. I find it so hard to see them fall that I throw landing gear down. But, I don’t have the same kids my mother had. I don’t have the same personality that my mother has….but, what I do have is the same intention and what I did was the same – I dedicated my life to my children. If I had to do it all over again, I would do it all over again. And, if they ever look back proudly one day on the things we did together and the good and bad we all went through in life, then I’m happy.
A quick picture taken by Christina with her computer of my four daughters and me.
To my mother on Mother’s Day – thank you for being the right mother for me…someone who so many would’ve wished to have as a mother. I appreciate all the support you gave me during some of the hardest times in my life. I do know how lucky I was in life to have you as a mother. If we were all permitted to choose who we could have as a mom prior to birth, I guess I’d be considered a relatively smart daughter.
I know that all of us have appreciated you in our lives….all that you gave both physically and emotionally. It’s not easy being a mother to four daughters, but no one would’ve guessed because you made it look easy.
And, now, you can give them back!
I love you, Mom! I hope you have a fabulous Mother’s Day!