On Mother’s Day 2018, I think about all the things my mom did for me. Of course, foremost is, being a very young woman just out of high school, she was willing to carry me to birth and raise me. I often think about Maureen Stapleton playing Mama Mae Peterson in the movie “Bye Bye Birdie” declaring to Harry McAfee (played by Paul Lynde) “But when I was expecting him, in the Maternity Ward, three days I waited. Did I desert him? No! I stayed right there so he wouldn’t be alone when he was born!” Her son Albert (played by Dick Van Dyke) says “Mama please don’t excite yourself. You know I love ya’”. I would never leave you!” to which Mama responds “Now, don’t try to pay me back, son. I forgive you. So what if you’re an ingrate? So long as you’re happy.”
I was no ingrate. I always appreciated how hard Mom worked to keep us happy. Did your mom do special things for you? This might seem silly, but I remember my lunch sacks. My mom used to pack my lunch when I was in the early school grades. She used to draw pictures and write notes on my lunch sacks. By the time lunch rolled around, I usually needed that encouragement. Of course, the cute lunch sacks disappeared by the time I was in 4th grade – a kid can get beat up for that. Mom understood all of that too. She made sure she knew my friends and was careful not to let me get in with kids who would be trouble for me. The few who came around and tried to cause trouble for us didn’t stick around for long when mom laid down the law. Thanks Mom!
Being a single mom for a few years made it difficult for her to get all the bills paid and still be able to pay for all the stuff me and my sister needed with constantly growing out of our clothes and scouts & everything. We stayed with our Grammy a lot while Mom worked two, sometimes 3 jobs so we could have the few “extras” that would otherwise be impossible. Even after Mom remarried, she kept working so I could be in band, play little league baseball and be involved in all the extracurricular activities that started popping up once I entered Jr. High School. Thanks Mom!
Our mom kept things seeming fairly “normal” during some tumultuous times growing up in Los Angeles; our family’s divorce; moving around quite a bit; the Watts Riots; the assassinations of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., President John F. Kennedy and Robert Kennedy; the Vietnam War; the Resignation of President Richard Nixon and some pretty big earthquakes – figuratively AND geologically speaking. With everything seemingly going crazy around us, Mom always made it feel like everything was alright at home. She’d bring home pizza or Pup-n-Taco for supper and throw some favorite albums on the Hi-Fi and just keep all of us right on going like she always did. No family skids or crashes. She taught us to stay “cool as a cucumber” – something she always says; and life was. Thanks Mom!
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