First of all, happy Mother's Day to my daughter, Molly, and to my daughter-in-law, Erin. Molly is a stay-at-home mom who spends practically every hour of every day in the service of her three children - Sebastian, Judah, and Willow. She is a very busy young woman who is always on the go. Erin works outside of the home, but still puts in countless hours being an active and affectionate mother to her four-year-old daughter, Olive. Erin is expecting her and Tim's second child, a boy, next month. Enjoy your day, Molly and Erin - relax and let your husbands have their turns at taking care of the kids!
Happy Mother's Day also to my sister, Gail Macy, and the special mothers in her life: Tiffany Burke, Dr. Heidi Pfetcher, and Lisa Smith - a wonderful group of moms!
This coming December my own mother, Florine Macy, will have been gone thirty years. She suffered from inoperable brain tumors and spent the last couple of years of her life slowly fading away, losing track of who she was and the connections she had forged in life. It was a very sad ending for a woman who had once been so vibrant and so important to those around her.
I remember my mother well, and for that I am very grateful. Her voice, though pleasant, was a bit sharp, much like that of her sisters. Although I just barely knew their mother, a fellow told me years later that the sharp and distinct voice that the sisters shared came from Siss Sreaves, their mother.
My mom worked her whole life. My earliest memories of her are in a waitress uniform from the time that she and her sister, my Aunt Christine, worked in their cafe, La Bella View, in Goodman, Missouri, while their husbands, Garland Macy and Bob Dobbs, worked next door at their DX service station. She also worked part-time as a seamstress at the J.C. Penney store in Neosho, Missouri, and later (with the assistance of my sister and me) ran a tourist court in Noel, Missouri. She cleaned cabins, did miles of laundry each day with an old wringer washer, and still found time to keep house and take care of her kids.
My mother never slowed down. Late in the evenings she would sit in front of the television listening to programs while crocheting, sewing quilt squares, or repairing our clothes. She would usually keep at it until everyone else had gone to bed. (I took a "gorilla pillow" to college that Mom sewed for me from a pattern. I wish I still had it.) The only break she took during the day was for lunch - and she spent that short bit of time watching her soap opera: "As the World Turns."
One winter while Riverview Court was basically shut down for the off-season, my mother enrolled in cosmetology school. She got her beautician's license, and after selling the tourist court, she went to work in Carol Kerry's beauty shop in Noel. During that time she also helped out in my dad's appliance store. Even after being diagnosed with terminal illness, she still put in time helping out with dad's business efforts - which by then was a real estate brokerage.
My mother also liked to cook - and she was good at it. Her signature dinner staple was fried potatoes, golden and crispy, served up alongside of a main course of standard fare like fried chicken, pork chops, or meatloaf. She also usually had a homemade coconut pie (my dad's favorite) on the counter as well as her special spice cake. Oh how I would love to taste that wonderful spice cake again!
Everyone smoked back at that time, and while many eventually quit, my mother was never able to break the habit. She always had a cigarette smoldering close by - and eventually those cigarettes killed her. My mother died on December 8, 1986, at the very young age of sixty-five. She didn't get to watch her grandchildren grow up, and she never experienced the joy of meeting any of her great-grandchildren - and that is a loss to our whole family.
Mothers are the bedrock of civilization. They are elemental in our existence, our survival, and our futures. Honor the moms in your life, and treasure the brief time that you have with them.
In honor of my mother and yours, Happy Mother's Day!