(ROCKWALL, TX — May 14, 2018) My Mother doesn’t really know it’s Mother’s Day. I visited her today after lunch. I helped her brush her teeth and opened a card from a dear friend who used to sit with her while we attended church each Sunday. Mother doesn’t remember her either. She does remember how to brush her teeth. She does a good job of scrubbing, rinsing and spitting. I suppose that’s like riding a bicycle. Your never forget how to brush your teeth…but some do. I’m grateful for the little things…like brushing her teeth.
When I look into those chocolate brown eyes I reflect on why she was such a good Mother. She taught me to brush my teeth. I suppose she was successful in instructing me on good oral hygiene because I never had a cavity until I was 24 years old!
She taught me to plan and meal, make a grocery list, how to pick out a good cantaloupe. I had to learn the way to find the best cauliflower on my own. We never ate cauliflower…or lima beans. But I knew well how to pick out the bad beans from a bag of pintos, wash them, cover them with water & let them sit on the stove overnight, ready to cook the next day. Nothing smells better than to walk into your house in the afternoon when a pot of red beans has been cooking all day…of course with a ham hock bubbling in the liquid. I don’t do it that way anymore. I was told somewhere along the way that ham hocks weren’t healthy for you, but gratefully pinto beans are still on the list for heart healthy foods! Thank goodness.
I learned to iron by being responsible for the pillow cases. I suppose I learned more than ironing. I learned the satisfaction of a job well done from standing on a chair to reach the ironing board. I’m reminded while I’m typing this that Mother sprinkled Daddy’s shirts each week with a Coke bottle corked with a nozzle on the end, wetting them down, rolling them up and placing them in the frig so they wouldn’t spoil before she got around to ironing them. What did the pillow cases say? Washing on Monday; ironing on Tuesday? Something like that.
I embroidered those pillow cases at my Grandmother’s. There were little iron-on stencils in blue ink. They came in a pattern envelope. I think they still make those. I need to do a set for my Grand Girls…their own set of a weeks-worth of pillow cases.
That’s something else I learned from my Mother…that my Grandmothers had a lot to teach me…and they did.
I thanked her for being my Mother before I left. She responded, “Thank you for being my Mother.” I guess I am. I’m seeing to it that she brushes her teeth. I’m asking her what she had for lunch. The roles have reversed, haven’t they. Gratefully she taught me how to mother my children, but I missed the class on how to mother my Mother. It’s a hard one…a hard class to pass. But I keep trying.
“Train up a child in the way she should go…and when she is old…”
That’s a good word.
By Paula Lively. Paula is a Volunteer Chaplain at Broadmoor Medical Lodge in Rockwall. She is a VERY retired RN who loves serving the residents at Broadmoor. She and her husband, Fred, have lived in Rockwall for 15 years.
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